Instead of asking a child, “What’s wrong with you?” we ask, “What happened to you?”
It’s a small, but significant shift in recognizing why a child is acting a certain way.
This approach is called Trauma Informed Care and it looks at Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. Research has shown that children who face traumas such as abuse, neglect or witnessing domestic violence are much more likely to develop social, emotional and behavioral challenges. This trauma often follow children well into their adult lives. Adults who have experienced childhood trauma are more likely to develop difficulties with substance abuse, mental health, divorce, holding down a job, parenting, domestic violence and incarceration.
Four Oaks uses the Trauma Informed Care approach in all of our programs, allowing us to look beyond a child's behavior to the deeper trauma that caused it.
What is your ACE Score?
Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are serious traumas that occur during childhood.
Childhood Trauma can include:
- Loss of a parent to divorce, abandonment or death
- Household substance abuse
- Caregiver treated violently
- Household mental illness
- Emotional neglect
- Incarceration of a parent or caregiver
- Physical neglect
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
Trauma can also include many other circumstances such as witnessing an accident or crime, bullying, being homeless, discrimination, natural disasters and war. Trauma is experienced individually, but there are many things individuals, friends and families can do to help.
Want to know your ACE score?
Take the assessment.
Experiencing an ACE doesn't define us or predict our future.
Experiencing ACEs is not uncommon. 55% of adults report experiencing at least one ACE in their lifetimes and 1 in 5 adults report experiencing 4 or more. Experiencing an ACE doesn't define us, but it can provide us with insight and understanding into some of the causes of child and adult social, emotional and health related issues.
By changing the question from "What is wrong with you?" to "What has happened to you?" we begin to understand our challenges, and find new ways to improve our lives and our children's lives.
There are many are many resources available to learn more about ACEs. We encourage you to speak to your Four Oaks provider about ACE, or contact us to taking about beginning services.