Definitions of Key Terms

Definitions of Key Terms

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Exposure during the first 18 years of life to abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual), neglect (physical or emotional), and/or household challenges (mother treated violently, household substance abuse, mental illness in household, parental separation or divorce, incarceration of a household member). Exposure to ACEs can negatively impact the trajectory of a child’s health outcomes, behaviors, and life potential. 

Developmental milestones: The average ages when children develop new skills or abilities, related to moving, speaking, learning, socializing, and caring for themselves.

Follow-up: Action taken to ensure that a patient/family has completed the course of action recommended by a referral, such as making appointments or receiving further testing, and to obtain and document the outcomes of the referral.

Maternal (Perinatal) depression: The spectrum of depressive symptoms occurring in a mother during pregnancy and within the first year after childbirth, including the following:

Prenatal depression: Depressive episodes beginning during pregnancy and persisting up to a year postpartum.
Postpartum depression:
Depressive symptoms occurring in a mother within the first year after childbirth and persisting beyond the first 2 weeks after delivery.
Postpartum psychosis:
A serious disorder with rapidly developing depressive and psychotic symptoms, typically presenting within the first month after delivery.

Protective factors: Biological, psychological, or community characteristics that reduce the negative impact of an adverse experience.  

Referral: A recommendation for additional evaluation, treatment, or other services given to a patient/family.

Resilience: The ability to regulate emotions and adapt to stress-inducing situations, thereby reducing the likelihood of a negative impact.

Screening: The use of a standardized tool to identify risk and determine the need for further evaluation.

Social determinants of health: The social and environmental factors that impact health outcomes. This project focuses on exposure to toxic stress, adverse childhood experiences, and poverty.

Surveillance: A longitudinal, continuous process based on clinical judgement that includes eliciting and attending to concerns, maintaining a history of findings, making observations, and identifying risk and protective factors.

Toxic Stress: Prolonged exposure to adverse experiences that activate the stress response system, potentially disrupting a child’s development and increasing the risk of poor health outcomes into adulthood.

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