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There is Hope

By Paul Hogan

My last blog entry focused on childhood trauma and its aftereffects causing lifelong harm if not dealt with and if it remains untreated. Did you take the ACE test? If so what was your score?  I ask this as an open question, not for you to call and give me your numerical score.

I’m wondering, because I got no feedback, no comments, whether this is too painful of a subject or maybe nobody reads my blogs – no matter – I’m always capable of making mistakes, often in public as my family can attest to, walking curbs backwards, putting an 800-sex number as a contact number in my newsletter. etc.  So, I will continue with the subject.

Back to the score, if you go to the ACE website at www.acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/ there are multiple graphs showing how much greater the odds are on adult adverse health consequences from childhood trauma. Now, the purpose of all this is not to make you feel bad or feel sorry for yourself if you suffered childhood trauma, nor is it to elicit sympathy or compassion from family and loved ones. Of course, I hope we can recognize, acknowledge, discuss and maybe obtain some help for ourselves, if needed. But most of all, to be prepared to help others – kids, grandkids, extended family and loved ones.

I don’t believe any one group, agency, church, school, etc., can save all the kids and solve all the problems. I do believe one person can make a difference in one other person’s life. I believe one person can learn about these issues, listen, and love. I believe there are some agencies which can help. One such agency is the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County.  I recently received a note from Diana Schunn, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center, who stated “we are excited to offer new therapy services to children.” That is exciting news.

I say a prayer for all children who suffer childhood trauma to such an extent that a case must be opened, an agency must be involved for a child’s upbringing and safety. I hope, if you are able, you will contribute a few dollars to the mission of the Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County whose vision is:

To lead our community in eliminating the suffering of abused children.

And whose Mission is:

Promoting the safety health and emotional well being of abused children and their caregivers by bringing together public, private and community partners.

The second part of the ACE test (Resilience Questionnaire) is on page 2 and next entry, I will conclude after reviewing and thinking some more.

What’s Your Resilience Score?

This questionnaire was developed by the early childhood service providers, pediatricians, psychologists, and health advocates of Southern Kennebec Healthy Start, Augusta, Maine, in 2006, and updated in February 2013. Two psychologists in the group, Mark Rains and Kate McClinn, came up with the 14 statements with editing suggestions by the other members of the group. The scoring system was modeled after the ACE Study questions. The content of the questions was based on a number of research studies from the literature over the past 40 years including that of Emmy Werner and others. Its purpose is limited to parenting education. It was not developed for research.

Rains wants everyone to know that the resilience questions are only meant to prompt reflection and conversation on experiences that may help protect most people (about three out of four) with four or more ACEs from developing negative outcomes. A secure early childhood is helpful, but not necessary. A higher number of positive experiences is not necessarily more protective.  He regrets that the questions have taken on a life of their own and that people may have misinterpreted or misunderstood their experience of risk and resilience, based on the ACE or “Resilience” questionnaires. For more information, he suggests reading this article on ACEs Too High — Putting resilience and resilience surveys under the microscope.

RESILIENCE Questionnaire

Please circle the most accurate answer under each statement:

1.  I believe that my mother loved me when I was little.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

2.  I believe that my father loved me when I was little.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

3.  When I was little, other people helped my mother and father take care of me and they seemed to love me.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

4.  I’ve heard that when I was an infant someone in my family enjoyed playing with me, and I enjoyed it, too.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

5.  When I was a child, there were relatives in my family who made me feel better if I was sad or worried.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

6.  When I was a child, neighbors or my friends’ parents seemed to like me.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

7.  When I was a child, teachers, coaches, youth leaders or ministers were there to help me.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

8.  Someone in my family cared about how I was doing in school.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

9.  My family, neighbors and friends talked often about making our lives better.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

10. We had rules in our house and were expected to keep them.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

11. When I felt really bad, I could almost always find someone I trusted to talk to.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

12. As a youth, people noticed that I was capable and could get things done.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

13.  I was independent and a go-getter.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

14.  I believed that life is what you make it.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

How many of these 14 protective factors did I have as a child and youth? (How many of the 14 were circled “Definitely True” or

“Probably True”?)   _______

Of these circled, how many are still true for me? _______