The Practice Model

Addressing childhood adversity and trauma effectively requires three elements:

  • understanding for each child how different adverse experiences impact on them and the kinds of support available around them
  • seeing each child and family holistically – this means taking into account all relevant aspects and factors rather than concentrating on “just” health, education, etc
  • bearing in mind not just individual issues but how the wider world of community, school, and national level factors impacts on both adversity and resilience

To do this well, we need a common framework and language that can be shared across different agencies, sectors, professions, knowledge bases, definitions and priorities.  This is the purpose of the Highland Practice Model


Wellbeing and Adversity

Translating the ACEs key messages into the Practice Model can be done using the concept of wellbeing – defined as being Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurtured, Achieving, Respected, Responsible and Included:

The research on adversity tells us that in order to grow up Healthy and Acheiving, children need to be Safe.  They also need to live in a context of Positive Relationships – in other words to be Active, Nurtured, Respected, Responsible and Included.

During awareness raising sessions in Highland using the Resilience documentary, we have used a short animation to show how the ACEs issues link to the Highland Practice Model. This can be viewed as a powerpoint presentation using this link


Thinking holistically

A good example of the need to think holistically is the Scottish Attainment Challenge

Efforts to close the attainment gap need to be ACE-aware so as to effectively address the full range of gaps that children who have experienced adversity may have. Again, this is very individual – the issues are simplified in the following graphic: