ACE Scores: The Link between Physical Health and Childhood Trauma

If you are here on my blog, I assume you are interested in understanding preverbal trauma, PTSD or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and ways we survivors learn to heal ourselves. If you haven’t yet heard of the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire, it’s time you did, for it provides valuable, revolutionary information about how early trauma affects the development of the brain, mental health outcomes, and physical outcomes. Watch the TED Talk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician, founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, and author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term effects of Childhood Adversity by clicking on this link: <>.

The ACE score questionnaire, which Dr. Harris discusses, is available on the following link from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, “one of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation . . . serv[ing] an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system” ( <>.

One concern that I have is that the ACE Questionnaire does not seem to address whether someone experienced preverbal trauma, such as an invasive medical procedure, a life-threatening illness, or a separation from his or her primary caregiver. Moreover, there is no ACE question that pertains to one’s understanding of the life of one’s mother while pregnant. I will, however, withhold judgment until I finish reading Dr. Harris’ book, for I see in Appendix 2 another questionnaire, the CYW ACE Questionnaire, which is “To Be Completed by Parent/Caregiver,” which may address my concerns. Stay tuned.


One Response to ACE Scores: The Link between Physical Health and Childhood Trauma

  1. Thank you Wendy for this informative post. I will be looking up the links you include here and share the frustration you mention. I also have found that childhood trauma is almost always discussed without reference to the possible and well-recognised connections with infant surgery and hospitalisation and their traumatisng the child’s parents.
    I have wondered whether this is because this may be more a historical issue than a current one, with our knowledge and awareness of trauma having developed so much, mostly in recent decades. Infant and related parent trauma as a result of historical infant surgery have certainly been recognised as affecting several people just in the circles in which we move. This would seem to me to mean that there will be an unknown but substantial number of other seniors and later middle agers who also continue to be troubled by the ongoing effects of earlier infant surgery, whether those effects are recognised or not.
    Keep drilling and making available the good oil of your work in this area!

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