Date of Award


Degree Name

School Psychology


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Conrae Lucas-Adkins, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Sandra Stroebel

Third Advisor

Dr. Lanai Jennings


Exposure to adverse childhood experiences, commonly referred to as ACEs, negatively impacts various physical and psychological aspects of the body and can result in a number of detrimental life outcomes including disease, mental health disorders, and even early death. The negative effects of ACE exposure begin long before adulthood, often resulting in academic and behavioral difficulties for school-aged children. Since school psychologists strive to advocate for the needs of all students, ensure correct special education categorization, and promote trauma-sensitive practices in schools, it is beneficial for them to have knowledge of ACEs and trauma that impact the students they serve. The current study examined ACE exposure in a sample of children receiving special education services in a small West Virginia school district. The majority of ACE information was found in psychoeducational reports, followed by outside evaluations and medical records. Data analysis revealed that 75% of students experienced one or more ACE, 45% experienced two or more, 28% experienced three or more, and 16% experienced four or more ACEs. Parental divorce was the most common ACE, followed by household mental illness, unstable home, and low income. No significant relationship existed between ACEs and LRE, behavioral goals, or counseling as documented on the IEP. A relationship did exist between ACEs and the likelihood of receiving outside counseling services. Implications for school psychology practice and the ethics of including trauma information in psychoeducational reports are discussed as well as the importance of incorporating trauma-sensitive practices into schools.


School psychology -- West Virginia.

Post-traumatic stress disorder in children.

Psychic trauma in children.