DEVELOPING RESILIENCE

While children exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) face serious adversity as a group, their personal stories demonstrate a wide range of outcomes.

In 2015, the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child released a follow-up paper (Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience) explaining why some children exposed to serious adversity had unexpectedly positive outcomes. 

Resilience - developed through a complex interplay of gene expression, adaptive biological systems, and positive experiences - allowed the child to transform potentially toxic stress into tolerable stress. Resilient children demonstrate the capacity to adapt and to thrive in response to serious hardship. 

Resilience: An Adaptive Response to Severe Stress
Adverse Childhood Experience / ACE / Toxic Stress / Resilience / Tolerable Stress / Resilience / Childhood Stress / Childhood Trauma / KidsMates / Dr. Rosemary Martoma

KidsMates Resilience Arrow demonstrates how children can transform adversity into positive outcomes. A KidsMates Graphic.

The paper illustrates the development of resilience using the concept of a seesaw. Positive experiences tip the seesaw toward positive outcomes. The most common positive experience shared among resilient children is a stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. The fulcrum's position also determines the balance on the scale between positive and negative outcomes. The fulcrum's initial placement is based on genetics; however, the cumulative impact of life experience can shift the fulcrum and tip the balance towards positive outcomes.

Adverse Childhood Experience / ACE / Toxic Stress / Resilience / Tolerable Stress / Resilience / Childhood Stress / Childhood Trauma / KidsMates / Dr. Rosemary Martoma

The Building Blocks of Resilience. A KidsMates Graphic.

The Seesaw Analogy Demonstrates Factors Affecting Outcomes in Children Exposed to Adversity. A KidsMates Graphic.

Adverse Childhood Experience / ACE / Toxic Stress / Resilience / Tolerable Stress / Resilience / Childhood Stress / Childhood Trauma / KidsMates / Dr. Rosemary Martoma