Childhood Trauma Impact on Health

Childhood Trauma Impact on Health

Childhood Trauma Impact on Health

The primary ways in which ­Dr. Burke Harris saw the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) manifest in the symptoms experienced by the children she treated in her Bayview clinic included the negative and lasting effects on health and overall well-being. For example, a 7-year-old patient named Diego had come to her clinic suffering from asthma, eczema, behavior problems, and slow growth rate. Upon further enquiry about his medical history, she discovered he had been sexually assaulted at 4 years. That is when Harris (2014) realized that the children with the most severe history of trauma often exhibited ACE in their symptoms. Her findings relate to the perspectives on vulnerability and resilience examined in class (Harris, 2014). For example, she views vulnerability as one of the major risks for ACEs due to reduced opportunities, exposure to violence, barriers to success, and negative outcomes (Lecture 3). Harris (2014) examines childhood vulnerability by taking into consideration the inherent experiences that interfere with the children’s ability to access the basic ingredients required to thrive.

Harris and her colleagues responded by opening a center for youth wellness screen, and healed the impacts of ACEs when they discovered the relationship between Adverse Childhood Experiences and their patients’ health problems. The critical components of their intervention approach focused on preventions by helping children develop resilience against adverse experienced. Harris (2014) approach is essential because lecture 4 underscore that vulnerability and resilience do not reside solely within a person. Instead, they depend on the interaction between the patient and the inherent environmental influences, which Harris and her collagenase sought to manage (Harris, 2014). Consequently, collaboration in healthcare intervention plays an essential role in maximizing the patients’ outcomes.

Trauma-informed care continues to gain traction in my community as more providers begin to screen patients for exposure to ACEs and trauma. The specific ACES and sources of toxic stress that impact the health and well-being of children and families in my community involve poverty since most people lack sufficient resources to meet their basic needs. Living in poverty has had a significant impact on most families because it denies them access to healthy foods, leading to poor nutrition (Lecture 4). Moreover, it reinforces chronic stress among children, especially when they see their parents struggling to put food on the table. There are different health clinics and schools in my community that screen for ACES using trauma-informed practices. As such, several variations exist regarding when and how to screen in children populations. Nonetheless, all institutions leverage the technical assistance tool prescribed by Harris and her colleagues to screen children for ACEs and trauma. These tools draw from their experiences gained when they up the Bayview Child Health Center in 2007.

Schools provide the best platform for screening for ACES. As such, most of the institutes in my community have a dedicated practitioner tasked with the responsivity of identifying and helping children deal with ACEs. The approach has been effective because numerous children silently suffer from severe trauma, such parental mental illness and incarceration to sexual abuse and violence. One of the primary approaches leveraged by most healthcare centers in my community to address the impact of ACEs involves conducting routine screening. Harris acknowledges the fact that early detection plays a central role in increasing the success on an intervention plan.


Harris, B. (2014). how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime [Video file]. Retrieved from: 

Lecture 3. HDFS 431: Ecology of Socialization – Childhood Vulnerability, Week 1, Lecture 3 [PDF].

Lecture 4. HDFS 431: Ecology of Socialization – Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resilience, Week 1, Lecture 4 [PDF].

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