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Handouts for parents about Understanding ACEs, toxic stress, resilience & Parenting with ACEs

Updated Nov. 30th, 2018

Please see the main post for these parent handouts in the ACEs Connection Resources Center.

Cissy's Note: These two flyers can be downloaded, distributed, and used freely. One is brand new and the other is a revision. They are titled as follows (and attached below):

  • Parenting to prevent and heal ACEs  

  • Understanding ACEs

1. Parenting to prevent and heal ACEs
This brand new flyer us based on the work of Donna Jackson Nakazawa who worked with us and generously allowed us to paraphrase content from her book, Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology & How You Can Heal. Donna's book specifically addresses those of us Parenting with ACEs (which she also does brilliantly in the powerful documentary, Wrestling Ghosts, about parenting and healing from ACEs).

screenshot PWA1PWA 2

2. Understanding ACEs / Revision:
As is noted on the flyer, as well, this is an updated version of the flyer the popular hand-out created and shared by the Community & Family Services Division at the Spokane (WA) Regional Health District. The first version of this flyer has been downloaded thousands and thousands of time and used by individuals and organizations.  See bottom of blog post for more about the original flyer. 

UA 1UA 2

Both flyers were made with generous support from
Family Hui, a Program of Lead for Tomorrow.
Translations of these flyers are in process and will be shared by Family Hui and updated on ACEs Connection when available.  

Please share your feedback and know we referenced prior comments made in the past as well as feedback from many in the Parenting with ACEs Community. All feedback is useful, even that not incorporated into these flyers. For example, next, we will create a flyer that is supportive, encouraging, and geared towards those of us living and parenting while in survival mode and who are struggling. If you want to be part of that flyer-making team or share what is/has been most helpful for you when overwhelmed, or without enough support, safety, or resources, please do (in comments or private email).

Our hope is that these can be shared with parents, teachers, survivors, medical professionals, and others. I'll be keeping side one of the Parenting to prevent and heal ACEs on my fridge to remind me that small things can make a difference for me and my kid.   

PAST Post: Thanks to the Community & Family Services Division at the Spokane (WA) Regional Health District for putting together this handout for parents.

found out about it when while doing a story about the trauma-informed elementary schools in Spokane, WA. Public health nurse Melissa Charbonneau mentioned that she'd been giving this to parents while working in neighborhoods near Whitman Elementary School in Spokane. 

We've updated it, and provided three different versions. The text is the same in all three; the difference between them is the graphics of the children. 

The versions are attached to this blog post. Feel free to download and distribute. 


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Comments (48)

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Brianne Twombly posted:

Does anyone know if the understanding ACEs handout has been translated into Arabic or if there is a similar handout available in Arabic?  Thanks.

The World Health Organization's 'WHO ACE International Questionnaire' was available in 'over 100 languages' on the WHO website. WHO did have a ' User's guide-book' to accompany it. I can't specifically say about the 'Understanding ACEs' handout.

When I have spoken to my doctor(s) concerning ACEs, I get little response.  I have made the connection between my own childhood experiences and ACE score and the medical issues I deal with, but my doctors do not seem to be on board with this (perhaps since it isn't covered in medical school?).  They seem to listen, but are unwilling to give it weight or merit because it doesn't relate to their "numbers learning" in terms of this test result number means this diagnosis.  I'd like to lead them away from their numbers learning, but they don't seem comfortable with that.  And until medical experts start emphasizing, and the hard sciences get on board with these concepts completely, we won't made headway.  Thank goodness for those medical experts (thank you) who do!  It's an uphill battle in the Washington DC area -- especially Montgomery County, Maryland where I live.

I'm about four weeks away from finishing my master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Johns Hopkins.  It would be a grand goal to be able to gain the listening ears of some medical professionals here.

I share Christine's observation that a portion of the people I'm trying to reach "tune out" when first hearing the words adverse childhood experiences, trauma, and traumatic stress.  That's why I like that Resilience is the flip side of these handouts.  When educating staff, childcare providers, and others I start the conversation with ACEs.  When educating the general public, I start the conversation with promoting resilience, and back into ACEs once I'm sure I've got their attention.  Thank you for the additional resource!

Tina & Everyone:
I agree that saying "toxic stress"" is more accurate but I'm not sure what I think about it being at the top of the hand-out. Whenever I say things like "trauma" or "toxic stress" I find some people self-censor or don't bother reading because they think, "Doesn't apply to me." I struggle with this all of the time in sharing info. about ACEs. I never know how much to say, at the start, or if, when and how to add stuff about ACEs in, in the middle. 
I wonder if it's helpful to have the flyer in both forms. I think learning how not to be stressed is a safe way for some people to start to think and talk about toxic and traumatic stress. That was true for me. I didn't even know ACEs I had were considered traumatic or toxic until well into my adult years. 
Does anyone else struggle with this in getting the message out to others? Maybe in some circumstances, like a doctor's office, being more specific and less general is even more important - especially for getting buy in from other doctors. I'm just not so sure with families what gets people to keep reading or turns people away. 

Jane, I forgot to tell  you that one participant came up to me after the workshop and reported that after hearing the presentation and looking at the handout you graciously allowed me to print as a handout that she was high on the ACEs scale. She said many things happened in her childhood that were on the list. She was so grateful for all of the information. 

Comment By Peter Chiavetta: Handouts for parents about ACEs, toxic stress


I also love these handouts. They have been a wonderful help. One piece of
feedback is that some of the non-parental caregivers have said resilience
sheet is triggering and they would prefer to see β€œcaregiver” or β€œfamily
support” or some other term given so many children may not have a parent
in the picture or are not going to get this kind of support from their

*From:* ACEsConnection []
*Sent:* Monday, May 02, 2016 6:38 AM
*To:* Nicky MacCallum LMFT, NCC
*Subject:* Comment By Peter Chiavetta: Handouts for parents about ACEs,
toxic stress &amp...