Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences
Learning Question: What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma, and why are they relevant to diabetes?
Description [for the learner]: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma have been declared a public health crisis. Discover what they are, and how they can impact a person’s long-term outcomes, especially related to diabetes.
- Learn what ACEs and trauma are, and how they can impact a person’s ability to manage their blood sugar
- Explore how common trauma is, and how to recognize it in your clients
- Hear how resilience can be grown to help your clients overcome the pitfalls associated with ACEs and trauma
How this will be accomplished
This session will be broken out into four parts:
I. We will start with an introduction and presentation that introduces ACEs are, how they can impact the health of your clients, especially related to diabetes, and how common they are. (10 minutes)
ACTIVITY: This will be followed by an activity in which you will calculate your own ACE score, and reflect on how common they might be among your clients. (5 minutes)
II. In the second part, we will talk about the wide variety of things that can cause trauma, and what, specifically, makes an experience traumatic. This is important so that you can recognize when someone you are working with may have experienced trauma. (10 minutes)
ACTIVITY: This will be followed by an activity in which you will be asked to come up with examples of traumatic experiences that you can now recognize in your clients-base. You will be asked to fill out a worksheet identifying possible acute, chronic, complex, and system-induced traumatic experiences that your clients might experience. (5 minutes)
III. In the third section, we will talk about how trauma can change a person’s brain, genetic make-up, and general health, making it particularly difficult to control blood sugar. We will then discuss common symptoms of trauma so that you will be able to recognize it in your clients. Finally, we will introduce possible triggers, so that you can avoid retraumatizing clients. (10 minutes)
ACTIVITY: This will be followed by a group activity, in which you will be asked to reflect on the work you do with clients and identify possible triggers and how they could be avoided. (5 minutes)
IV. The final section will start with an introduction of the approach we need to adopt in order to help clients who have experienced trauma better manage their health. This will include a shift in the way we view clients and an effort to build their resilience. Building a person’s resilience is the number one way to protect against the risks associated with trauma. (5 minutes)
ACTIVITY: This will be followed by a poll, in which you will be asked to reflect to reflect on what helped you get through a very difficult time in your life. You answers will be compared to the top tools for helping somebody build resilience. (5 minutes)
We will end with a presentation on the top ways to help clients build resilience. Doing so will help them better manage their blood sugar and overall health, leading to better outcomes overall.
- 2 minutes introduction
- 8 minutes presentation on ACEs
- 5 minute activity: ACE survey and reflection
- 10 minutes presentation [insert your topic]
- 5 minute activity: Types of trauma handout activity
- 10 minutes presentation on the possible effects [insert your topic]
- 5 minute activity: Possible triggers group work
- 5 minutes presentation introducing [insert your topic]
- 5 minute activity: Resilience poll and discussion
- 5 minutes presentation on how to [insert your topic] and conclusion
Total Time: 60 minutes
Cdc.gov. 2017. Adverse Childhood Experiences (Aces). [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/> [Accessed 1 April 2016].
Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., Koss, M. P., & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0749-3797(98)00017-8
Harris, Nadine Burke (2014). How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime [video] TEDMED.
Ogden, P., Minton, K., and Pain, C. (2006). Trauma and the body: A sensorimotor approach to psychotherapy. New York: Norton.
Schüssler-Fiorenza Rose SM, Xie D, Stineman M. Adverse childhood experiences and disability in U.S. adults. PM R. 2014;6(8):670-680. doi:10.1016/j.pmrj.2014.01.013
Siegel, D.J. (1999). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York; Guilford Press.
Cowart Trauma Informed Partnership