Whitney makes some valuable points about the new movement to recognize ACE scores, and the impact these events have on children, and adults.
I am not suggesting that the ACE-aware movement is wrong per se. It has increased public awareness of the potentially traumatic situations that sadly many of our children and families face today and highlighted the potentially long-lasting implications of these events for our children’s development well into adulthood. However, we need to be very cautious, and no matter how well-intentioned this movement may be, we need to be extremely mindful that we are not further traumatising the very children and families this movement is claiming to be helping.
One of the things I think we risk when dealing with any type of study is sending the message that, in the ACE example, an individual score is so high, that there is no hope for them. One, that’s not true at all, and secondly, every study needs to recognize that we are dealing with individuals, not statistics. Just because studies show a certain impact, doesn’t mean everyone will be impacted that way. The risk, when we find something that helps describe what childhood experiences do to us, is that we overuse it. We try to see everything through that lens, that score if you will. The score matters, but we sometimes try to use it to literally define people and their destiny, when it’s not either one of those things.
We are all a little different, and we’d do well to remember that when looking at any clinical studies.