Are ye feeling ACE today?
To understand the role of adverse childhood experiences on our behaviour as teenagers and adults.
What do we mean by ACEs and what are the main types of adversity that children and young people might face?
What do we need to know about adversity?
How can you use knowledge of adversity positively?
In your area, group or school - who can you speak to if you know someone is affected by adversity?
What does the science tell us about why adversity might cause some people to be more violent, or take part in health harming behaviour?
As part of a quick fire opening discussion, invite group members to create a list (on flip-chart or paper) to identify what types of adversity children might face?
The main ones are:
-parental abandonment through separation or divorce
-a parent with a mental health condition
-being the victim of abuse (physical, sexual and/or emotional)
-being the victim of neglect (physical and emotional)
-a member of the household being in prison
-growing up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.
However, anything that has a major impact on child's safety and well being can have a lasting effect. Invite the group to think about what sort of effects it might have and how long they last.
Summarise by explaining that sometimes if you're not feeling ACE today, it can link back to things that happened to us in early childhood that we may or may not be fully aware of. The good news is that as teenagers we can build up our ways of coping and change the way our brains respond.