Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), are caused by trauma or toxic stress that happen to a child before the age of 18. ACEs effect a child's brain development and may cause learning, behavioral and social problems. The more adverse childhood experiences a child has, the more likely they are to develop physical and mental conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, obesity, depression, and mental illness as an adult.
Adverse Childhood Experiences such emotion abuse, physical abuse, a parent or stepparent who was treated violently, a family member who went to prison, sexual abuse, family member who abused drugs or alcohol, emotional neglect, physical neglect, having a parent diagnosed with mental illness, and other stressful experiences can create toxic stress in a child. The more of these events in a child's life, the higher their ACE score. The higher the ACE score, the more likely the child will grow into an adult with major physical health and/or mental health challenges.