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Am I right? Why do you think that may be? Mom is stressed and the child is upset because financial resources have been reduced, the family is not together, and the family can no longer afford what they could before, such as hockey camp. Did you feel sad or frightened or angry? I do this with a lot of compassion and empathy, letting the child and parent know I am concerned about them.

Then I know this family has a lot of stuff going on. I give the family information in a nonjudgmental, compassionate manner. Nobody has ever asked us this. She wants every pediatrician to screen children for ACEs, and to make ACEs screening a part of the maintenance of certification required by the American Board of Pediatrics. I give it to pediatricians, internists, family practice docs, psychiatrists, and to anyone I can think of. However this work has been frustrating.

It is very difficult to get psychiatrists and medical professionals to understand the deep significance of preventing childhood adversity and to act. However, I have been making inroads in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and in my own community, and I will continue. They plan to start screening after reviewing the screening tools other pediatricians around the U. Sara Bode, director of community pediatrics. This may be more important than anything else we do. The clinic, which handles about 20, visits annually, has been making this transition over the last couple of years.

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Besides adverse childhood experiences, the staff also asks about basic necessities, such as housing and food. Asking all these questions can mean the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy child, says Bode. She tells the story of a woman and her young son, who was born with a heart condition.

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The staff found her a place in a domestic violence shelter and signed her up for the WIC program so that she could obtain the specialized formula. Now, both she and her child are thriving, says Bode. In the Bronx, New York, Dr. Rahil Briggs is preparing to take a similar approach to a much larger scale to prevent childhood ACEs that can lead to behavioral issues and physical health problems. The center established wrap-around services for high-risk families in , also with the Healthy Steps program.

So, we want to identify those who will benefit the most. In the pilot, each of the parents reports his or her ACE score, and that of their baby at the first well-baby visit.

The Role of Parents

If either parent has an ACE score of 4 or higher, the family is automatically offered enrollment in Healthy Steps. The reaction of the parents has been overwhelmingly positive, says Briggs. She hopes to make the tool available to any pediatrician to identify high-risk families.

In a pilot study she conducted in Rochester, NY, parents filled out a modified ACE survey on their four- to five-year-old children. She added a question about maternal education. She found that the screener identified children at risk for behavioral problems, developmental delay and injury.

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The study — Adverse childhood experiences: translating knowledge into identification of children at high risk for poor outcomes — was published in the journal Academic Pediatrics last year. She wants to know how the tool affects the patient experience, specifically the effects on visit time, risk factors identified by the pediatrician, community referral rates and patient satisfaction.

She intends to develop screening tools for parents to complete on young children, and for adolescents to complete on themselves. She also wants to experiment with adding questions that predict the risk of maltreatment, in addition to history of maltreatment. Marie-Mitchell relates the story of a pediatrician who served a wealthy clientele and had particularly good rapport with one parent who was friendly and outgoing.

The pediatrician was stunned when she learned the mother had died in her sleep of alcohol intoxication. She never thought to ask her about alcohol use. Marie-Mitchell believes that screening for ACEs in children should be a standard part of well-child care. As an educator, intuitively I have always been interested in the history of a child and family and have always gone back to birth at our fist encounter together.

It has been during this time I gain an intimacy, respect, and base of knowledge that otherwise would have missed and could have less to actions that could negatively impacted communications with the child and family. Thank you for a great article and Kudos to the pediatricians for digging deeper into the relationships of children and families.

Like Liked by 1 person. There needs to be a profound effort to educate the public. I wish all the people involved with my very intelligent son at 17 tried to get help for me his mother and his brother and himself about his abusive father.

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CPS, juvenile justice, child crisis, phycologists, psychiatrist never once explained any of this to either me or him. They told me the only treatment was antidepressant Citalopram , then left him in the care of an intern family counselor and 4 weeks to the day he hung himself. The dysregulation of the neuro circuitry and disruption of the gut microbiota because of chronic and acute stress is the result. When police are called to any domestic disturbance the have an opportunity to educate the parents the damage DV does to children by just being exposed.

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  • People have no idea how this has effected their lives and without being educated they will never understand how to improve their own lives and that of their children. So do what you can to get the word out. To everyone. Like Like. Pingback: Using lifecourse theory to better understand and alter health trajectories The Fantasy Equation. Thank you for this article. It will be interesting to see how the use of the ACE score evolves, and how it might be adapted to also reflect the highly negative and traumatic impact of contemporary racism, white supremacy and micro-aggressions as well as the impact of multi-generational and historical race- based trauma on people of color, particularly those of African descent.

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    Clearly, the ACE questionnaire elicits very emotionally sensitive but powerfully predictive information. I do not think that the ACE questionnaire is appropriate to administer immediately after the delivery or at the 2-week well-child visit where the focus is mostly about breast feeding or even at the 2-month well-child visit where the focus is mostly about vaccines.


    Perhaps, the most time to elicit and address ACEs is in the first trimester of the pregnancy. More research is needed about the best time to screen. Toxic stress clearly has prenatal not just postnatal consequences. This makes the most sense to me. After all, the majority of hospitals have social workers on staff who work in mother-baby units.

    Social workers could help the parents to better understand the importance of community-based referrals to lessen the long-term impact of ACEs.

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    If parents are looking for health care for a child who is gender-diverse, Dr. Some families will decide to use drugs that block puberty , preventing the body from developing the secondary sexual characteristics of the gender that the child wants to abandon, Such drugs block characteristics like breast development in biological females, and voice deepening and facial hair in biological males. Some adolescents will decide to pursue further interventions, medical or surgical, sometimes called transitioning.

    Many kids, he said, feel much better after they start transitioning. This is a medically underserved population, in adolescence as in adulthood , with medical needs to be met, and which may be complex during puberty. If a biological female is transitioning to male, the doctor still needs to talk about menstrual periods. And those statistics about the risks of suicide and self-harm mean that screening for depression is crucial at health care visits.