new study found that experiencing traumatic events known as Adverse Childhood
Experiences (ACEs) before age 5 was strongly linked with learning difficulties
and behavior problems among kindergarteners. The study, “Adverse Experiences in Early Childhood and Kindergarten Outcomes
,” in the February 2016 issue of Pediatrics
(published online Jan. 14) includes data on more than 1,000 children in large
U.S. cities whose teachers rated school performance at the end of kindergarten.
Students who’d experienced one or more previously reported ACE were
significantly more likely to struggle in the classroom, displaying below-average
language, literacy and math skills, as well as aggression and social
problems. ACEs include events such as physical, sexual or psychological
abuse and neglect or substance use, mental illness, violence in the home or
incarceration of a family member. The more adverse events a child
experienced, according to the study, the more academic and behavior problems
increased. Authors of the study stress that poor school achievement is
associated with poor health and well-being as adults. They said the findings
should encourage policymakers and practitioners to find ways for early
childhood professionals like pediatricians and educators to work together to
support at-risk children and their families.
American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric
surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of
infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information,
visit www.aap.org or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds.