Stressful events that happen in our early years of development affect us in ways that last our entire lives. Science tells us that from our birth, our brains are growing and adjusting to our environment. Whether traumatic, friendly, threatening or soothing, our experiences get wired into our biology.
There are two primary acronyms to know.
- ACEs: Adverse Childhood Experiences harm children’s developing brains. Each person can take a 10-question survey to determine his or her ACE score. ACEs are risk factors, not determinants.
- NEAR Science: It’s a cluster of fields of study that include Neuroscience, Epigenetics, ACEs and Resilience.
We prefer the term NEAR Science because it gives a better, holistic picture of a person’s experiences over his or her lifetime; it also incorporates resilience, which is an important factor in the outcomes of a person’s life.
NEAR Science in Publications and the Media
- This American Life (WBEZ/PRI): Back to School (Sept. 14, 2012)
- The New York Times Opinionator: Protecting Children from Toxic Stress (Oct. 30, 2013)
- The New York Times Opinionator: Schools that Separate the Child from the Trauma (Nov. 13, 2013)
- The New York Times Opinionator: Teaching Children to Calm Themselves (March 19, 2014)
- Nursing Research and Practice: A Framework to Examine the Role of Epigenetics in Health Disparities among Native Americans (Nov. 19, 2013)
- Documentary: Invisible Scars
- Discover magazine: Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes (May 2013)