A Leeds Trinity University researcher is working with local academics and practitioners in early years education to raise awareness about how stressful events in childhood, such as divorce, abuse, or neglect, increase the risk of health conditions in adulthood.
Dr Pam Jarvis, Reader in Childhood, Youth and Education at Leeds Trinity University, is working with academics from Leeds Beckett University, and early years practitioners to raise awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the impact they can have throughout a child's life. The group is aiming to set up an ACEs Yorkshire Alliance to tackle the issue and reduce inequalities in the county.
Dr Jarvis said: "The first three years of a child's life are crucial in their development. If they experience adverse stress during those first few years, it can affect them for life, and have long-lasting consequences on how they think, learn, and interact with others. We are trying to make this knowledge available to everyone in an accessible way, so that we can influence change to ensure all children in our society have the best possible start in life."
The group, which includes Dr Pam Jarvis, Reader in Childhood, Youth and Education at Leeds Trinity; Yinka Olusoga, Senior Lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at Leeds Beckett University; Mandy Pierlejewski, Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Leeds Beckett University; David Cahn, an early years practitioner; and Debbie Garvey, an early years consultant from Stonegate Training, is screening the film Resilience at the Vue Cinema in The Light, Leeds, on Thursday 26 April 2018.
Dr Jarvis added: "The group's first initiative is to bring interested people together in Leeds to watch and discuss the world-famous Resilience film, which will be followed by a discussion and question and answer session. We are encouraging academics and anyone working with children, whether it's as a teacher, social worker, carer, or early years practitioner, to come along and get involved. We want to have a similar movement in Yorkshire to the ACEs Scotland Alliance.
"All children need love and play so that they can develop socially, emotionally and cognitively in a healthy manner. We want to raise awareness of the importance of care and love during those first three years of a child's life."
Adverse Childhood Experiences include: domestic violence; parental abandonment through separation or divorce; a parent with a mental health condition; being the victim of abuse (physical, sexual and/or emotional); being the victim of neglect (physical and emotional); a member of the household being in prison; and growing up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.
Research has shown that children suffering from four or more ACEs are more likely than people with no ACEs to have been in prison, develop heart disease, frequently visit the GP, develop type 2 diabetes, have committed violence in the last 12 months, and have health-harming behaviours, such as high-risk drinking, smoking or drug use. There is more risk of experiencing ACEs in areas of higher deprivation.
Tickets for the screening are available here. The trailer is available here.