Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are highly stressful and potentially traumatic experiences that can happen to any of us before we turn 18. An ACE can be a single event. Or they can be an ongoing struggle where our safety, security, trust, or even our very sense of self is threatened or violated.
When those adverse experiences aren’t buffered by a caring adult or supportive environment — or when they’re ongoing or overwhelming — they can cause a toxic stress response. That response can affect a child’s developing brain and body and have a negative ripple effect on health and life outcomes as an adult.