childhood developmental trauma is a complex neurobehavioral disturbance that can have wide-ranging impacts on a child’s mental health, emotional regulation, and interpersonal relationships. It can have a strong impact on children’s ability to maintain a sense of safety and stability in their lives, which can also increase their risk of developing psychiatric disorders later in life. Often, there is an inability to form attachments and a persistent feeling of isolation that can lead to a lack of trust and self-worth.
Emotional regulation difficulties are common in children with developmental trauma. This can lead to a pattern of angry, irritable, and defiant behaviors. Children with developmental trauma are at higher risk of having a range of psychiatric disorders including oppositional defiant disorder, bipolar disorder and conduct disorder.
Trauma-Informed Care: Supporting Children with Developmental Trauma in Schools
The research into ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) is clear that it has profound impacts on adult mental and physical health. In fact, adults who endorsed higher numbers of ACEs in their early years were found to have much higher rates of serious mental illness and high-risk health behaviors such as smoking, substance abuse, and chronic illnesses.
It is important to understand that a trauma-informed approach is critical for a child’s well-being and recovery. This approach recognizes that trauma affects a person’s physical, emotional, and social well-being, so strategies to support a child with trauma include creating a safe environment, providing consistent structure, teaching effective coping and self-regulation skills, and fostering positive relationships. It has been shown to be effective in helping children overcome their trauma.