Understanding the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), childhood adversity, and toxic stress is essential to meeting the needs of children and youth in today’s educational settings.
Children and youth who experience high levels of adversity are significantly more likely to experience learning and behavioral problems. Some of the effects of ACEs and toxic stress in schools may include trouble concentrating in class, lack of school engagement, not completing homework, absenteeism, school failure and noncompletion, learning disabilities, impaired executive and relational functioning, an increased need for special education, increased school violence and victimization, and lower educational attainment.
ACEs are not the whole story, and they are not destiny. Educators and school staff have the opportunity to be positive buffering forces that can help prevent or reduce the lasting impacts of early adversities, and can help prevent tolerable stress from becoming toxic. Together, we can create school climates and systems that help prevent and address childhood adversity and toxic stress. There are many professionals, parents, young people, and community members working to create school systems that are trauma-informed and trauma-responsive, and we want to help increase the demand and support that change.
The resources on this page provide information on strategies for prevention, implementing change in your classroom, school, or district, and opportunities for engaging consultants and specialists to help guide this work. To request an introduction to Number Story as a resource for your school or district’s educators or staff, please contact Joy Thomas at joy@ACEResourceNetwork.org.