Lampion Center is known for highly skilled therapy, adoption services and innovative community services. We are also on the cutting edge of brain development information and how ACEs inform and positively impact the prevention services, resilience and wellness of our community.
What is an “ACE” (Adverse Childhood Experience)?
An “ACE” is an experience that causes toxic stress in a child. This stress can impair a child’s development and effect their ability to function and make healthy relationships / life choices as an adult.
- Physical, Emotional or Sexual Abuse or Neglect
- Witnessing Domestic Violence (Emotional or Physical)
- Living with Someone with Chronic Mental or Physical Illness
- Living with Someone with Alcohol/Drug Abuse
- Absent, Separated or Divorced Parents
- A Family Member involved with Criminal Activity or In Jail
What does the “ACE” score mean?
- When a doctor takes a health measurement & family history it is used to help them assess risk and the likelihood of future health problems. ACE scores are similar but they focus on childhood events or situations that cause significant stress. The more stressful events that are experienced, the more risk there is for health issues and toxic stress levels as an adult.
- There are 10 questions on the ACE questionnaire. A high ACE score doesn’t mean that physical and mental health issues will absolutely develop, it means the higher the score, the more at risk the person is for health implications into adulthood.
What can Parents and Caregivers do to better build a child’s brain?
- Set devices aside and play / interact with your children daily in a focused, heartfelt way, in child-friendly activities. Quality time together, talking and listening over dinner, playing games, walking, or other activities that bring all together. Ask about their day, their friends, their feelings, their dreams/day dreams. Follow your child’s lead. For infants, back and forth interactive games like peek-a-boo and patty cake are perfect for interaction.
- Create Optimism. Compliment your child and encourage his/her strengths on a daily basis. By repeatedly having positive experiences and thinking positive thoughts, brain science shows that we train our brains to be optimistic and hopeful about the future.
- Provide empathy and help children learn that all of their emotions are OK. Children learn to manage their emotions in a healthier way when we help them recognize and name their emotions.
- If your child is upset, stay with them and help them return to a calmer state (“time with”, rather than “time out”). Find fun ways of involving kids in taking a breath and calming themselves. This will help them lower their stress and anxiety and learn how to decompress (as an added benefit: adults get calmer while helping their kids).
- Attend a free “Stewards of Children” child sexual abuse prevention training. Contact Lampion Center: 812.471.1776.
- To best meet a child’s needs, Caregivers/Parents need to be healthy, including getting help if there is a mental health, relationship, or substance abuse issue.
- In cases of separation / divorce, help children maintain healthy contact with parents, grandparents, and extended family whenever possible.
- Protect/remove children from exposure to aggression, violence and criminal activity.