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  • M.M. Teeter

Adverse Childhood Experiences & Those Living Homeless

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Trauma (often inter-generational) is a key cause of homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, truancy, suicide, etc. and is rampant across socio-economic groups. It effects immigrants and refugees profoundly. Childhood trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are particularly pervasive and can trap us in an early stage of development with a fight or flight response. These ACEs have an enormous effect on health, addiction, violence to name a few. But several epidemiological studies as well as brain research are showing that having a healthy relationship with an empathetic adult and tools to calm the inner chaos can produce dramatic behavioral results. Even for addiction. This is called "building resilience". I think this work is key to succeeding with homeless individuals and helping them to maximize their potential. Yet right here in Yolo County, people are including ACEs in their organizations with amazing results. I wanted to share this post with examples of how ACEs are helping now in Yolo County and in Davis, CA - with CASA (court appointed special advocate) volunteers and with students in the alternative King High School. An ACEs score represents the cards life has dealt you. There is absolutely no guilt in a high ACE score. Your parents may have had trauma themselves as children that effected them. Or the trauma may have been with your grandparents.

We can't change what we or others have been given. But understanding trauma's role can help us have compassion for ourselves as well as others in need such as those living homeless. It can help us understand why we are the way we are through no fault of our own. And not judge. Accept ourselves for who we are.

In case anyone is interested in their own ACE score, you can find the ACEs questionnaire here You can also find the resilience questionnaire there.

A score of 4 or more indicates serious stress that cause health effects and lead to addictions. Someone with an ACE score of 4 is 7X more likely to be an alcoholic or 4X as likely to be a smoker, have emphysema, or chronic bronchitis.

Find out more about ACEs at http://acestoohigh/aces101. Great videos there. Understanding your own trauma and building resilience can really help ones own growth and happiness.

What we can do no matter what our ACE score or that of others is is have compassion and do things that build resilience. In ourselves, in every group we are in, in our interactions with others.

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