Overcoming ACES (adverse childhood experiences) A Boy and his Lemonade

What an inspirational story about this 9 year old boy who set up a lemonade stand in order to help fund his adoption. Tristan has been under the legal guardianship of Ms. Davis since age 5 but she couldn’t afford to legally adopt him.

Ms. Davis raised Tristan until age 3, although she is not his biological mother. The biological mother (a woman who had an affair with Davis’ ex husband) came and took the boy away. Davis was eventually able to be reunited with Tristan after the birth mother left him at a children’s homeless center . However the few years apart were said to be traumatic and filled with neglect for this young boy.

I bring this important issue up as the article states Tristan has been diagnosed with ADHD, impulse control disorder and depression. Davis has been working hard to give her son a stable and supportive life which is extremely important for his long term health. Though I do not know this courageous young man and mother, it signifies the epidemic in this country regarding ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and the effect of toxic stress and a child’s long term health.

The landmark ACES study http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/  a collaboration between the CDC and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego examined data from over 17000 individuals and what they found is those individuals that had adverse childhood events including separation from attachment parent, physical/ emotional abuse or neglect, as well as violence were at much higher risks of health issues cancers, heart disease, immune disorders, alcoholism , depression, anxiety as well as behavioral issues like ADHD. And in fact the risk of disease and negative health outcomes increased with the number of ACES a person experienced.  The study also showed that ACES are very common 67% of those in this large study had at least one.

Additional research over the past 2 decades confirms that children are impacted by toxic stress that occurs in childhood. We now know these events change the brain structure and circuitry as its developing and has direct effects on other organ systems and neurotransmitters and hormones in the body. This puts our kids at higher risk for learning issues in school, emotional and developmental problems and chronic health issues into adulthood.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Effective screening for ACES as well as interventions to promote positive parenting, mindfulness and building resilience can prevent the effects of toxic stress. It’s a conversation well worth having with health professionals but also within communities to support our children. To me this story is so much more than a boyselling lemonade; its about the health and well being of the next generation. And so I applaud Tristan on his resilience, Ms. Davis for her perseverance and never ending support and a big thank you to the community who embraced this boy and reinforced his self worth.

Full story can be found here - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/04/25/the-9-year-old-who-set-up-a-lemonade-stand-to-help-his-parents-fund-his-legal-adoption/