Just under half of the children in the U.S. have experienced an “adverse experience” which can be classified as trauma, reports KPCC. The first term can seem like jargon, and the second can sound overly dramatic, but the experiences they describe are all too real—and common. A child who’s experienced homelessness, witnessed domestic violence at home, dealt with the loss of a caregiver like a grandparent or mother or who has an incarcerated parent, have all experienced “adverse experiences.”
Researchers have been looking into the ways that these experiences can affect children’s brain development—and subsequently how kids fare in school. Unsurprisingly, it’s not typically for the better. The higher the number of adverse experiences a child has survived, the higher the likelihood that they’ll develop chronic diseases later in life such as alcoholism and depression.
Childhood trauma is more common than some might think, and while children’s experiences vary depending on their race, children of all races experience childhood trauma. Read Colorlines’ report on a new effort to recognize the role trauma plays in kids’ school lives.
Want to find out your personal Adverse Childhood Experience score? Take a questionnaire based on a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.