Module one covers adverse experiences that can impact on a child’s development and their response to stress and the different categories of ACEs as identified in the initial studies carried out. It will also discuss further categorization added in more recent studies along with methods to identify the risk factors for ACEs.

A Nurturing Environment

Before we explore what a ‘toxic environment’ is, it is important to understand a ‘nurturing environment’ and what the majority of pupils within our care as practitioners experience in their early years of development. This is called the ‘nurturing care’ approach:

Work through the following presentation by selecting the right arrow or the blue boxes underneath the image below to gain an introduction to a nurturing environment:

Nurturing Care

The following graphic contains a number of images and corresponding scenarios of an environment that exhibits a nurturing care. Click the “turn” button at the bottom centre of the image card to reveal the information. Then proceed through each of the remaining point by selecting the blue arrow at the bottom right of each card:

An Alternative Environment for a Child

Now that we’ve examined what a nurturing environment looks like for a child let’s take a look at an alternative environment which is not nurturing. Select the left and right arrows underneath the image to advance through key areas of information contained on each the slides:

First Nine ACEs Identified

The first nine identified adverse childhood experiences identified within the orginal studies are covered in the image below. Select the exclamation (!) icons to learn more about how to identify the three direct and six indirect factors:

Additional ACEs Identified

It is important to be aware that there could be other distressing events which occur that result in an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds a child’s ability to cope or deal with the emotions involved with that experience.

Lasting Impacts of Early Adversity

Risk Factors Which Increase Potential for ACEs

There are identified risk factors which increase the chances of being exposed to ACEs. In order to take effective action to reduce ACE prevalence, it is necessary, as practitioners, to understand what the risk factors are for adverse experiences. While anyone can be exposed to ACEs, there is an increased risk associated with the following circumstances:

A number of risk factors which increase the potential for exposure to ACEs are represented below by an image with accompanying text underneath. Learn about each factor by slowly dragging the selector to the right until you have familiarised yourself with all three systems:

Learner Application Activity

Using the information provided in this first module, without prejudice, take some time now to reflect upon the pupils within your care and identify those who you feel may be at risk of early adversity or have experienced early adversity already. Do so anonymously . It may also useful to also refer to your school safeguarding policy to support. After this reflection – proceed to the following section for a quick knowledge test for this module.

Module One: Knowledge Test