I just took the ACE test, which measures adverse childhood experiences. My result? It was a zero, which means I’m lucky. I grew up in a household that was supportive and loving. My parents didn’t abuse me, take drugs, have a mental illness, or get divorced. (Some sources say that the national average of 2 or more adverse childhood experiences is 22.6%.) You can find out more information and take the ACE yourself here.
So what does the ACE score mean? Students with high adverse experiences are more likely to have difficulties in school both with behavior and learning because constant stress and developing brains don’t mix. And as adults they’re more likely to become involved with alcohol and drugs, be obese, and have a host of other health problems.
Clearly, a lot of productive, well-adjusted adults have a high ACE score. So what happened? They probably had support from other areas in their lives. Perhaps a loving grandparent, kind friends, or supportive schools and teachers became involved.
I did some mucking about on the Internet and found this list of resources for teachers of students with high ACE scores. What are a few simple things you can do right now?
- Believe that children are victims of circumstances.
- Believe that children who are disrupting class are not willfully bad.
- Create a classroom that is a safe and supportive environment.