Thanks to the seminal work of Robert Anda and Vincent Felitti, it is now widely accepted that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have lifelong effects on physical, behavioral, and mental health and that many adult diseases can be considered developmental disorders that began early in life. Genomics has advanced the neurobiological understanding that underpins ACEs, wellness, and disease, which are modulated through stress pathways and epigenetic modifications. While data are currently limited, children with developmental disabilities have an increased ACE risk compared to typically developing peers. This recognition has important ramifications for health and policy interventions that address the root causes of ACEs, especially in this vulnerable population. With increased societal recognition, advances in policy will lead to medical, financial, and public benefits in years to come, hopefully changing healthcare models from ‘sick care’ to ‘well care’.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Clinical Neurology