ACEs in Early Childhood
Topic 8 Page 10
As an infant experiences life in their new environment these synapses will grow at a rate that is reflective of their experiences; the “nurture” portion of early brain development.
For a young child who comes from a family where one or both parents have had a history of ACEs there are genetic markers in their DNA that can actually alter their initial synapse development. This initial development brought on by genetic information is the blueprint for brain development through the child’s life. Along with genetics, environment plays a major role in the brain development of children from birth to three. Environment refers to everything from the living arrangements of the child to the home environment. Some environmental factors are intangible such as discipline, affection, and emotional support.
In ideal conditions this is the point in life when the stage is set for cognitive, social and emotional, and physical development. The combination of genetics and environment in an ideal situation build a strong foundation for early literacy, numeracy, positive behaviors, pro-social behaviors, and health. An opposite combination of predetermined genetics and a negative environment will completely throw typical development off track.
Simply put: the brain cannot handle the typical development that it is capable of when ACEs are present.