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Childhood trauma can impact a child’s behaviors as well as their long-term mental and physical health outcomes. It is a myth that young children aren’t affected by trauma because they were too young to understand/don’t talk about it.
“Trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically and emotionally harmful or threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.” (SAMSHA, 2012)
The research shows that the higher incidence of childhood trauma, including divorce, abuse, separation, economic hardship, drug or alcohol use in the home or violence, the more likely the person is to have health issues as an adult such as alcoholism, drug abuse, depression, suicide, poor physical health, and obesity.
Nadine Burke Harris’s TED talk video, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime” is a great introduction to this topic. The US DHHS’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration agency’s ACEs webpage has more information about the Adverse Childhood Experiences study.
Carol O’Connor, LCSW, Senior Project Coordinator at the Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI) and National TF-CBT Trainer, gave a presentation to the ECCS community on September 12, 2018.
Here are the slides and handouts:
Impact of Childhood Trauma Presentation to ECCS (PDF)
Trauma resources list for ECCS (PDF)
NCTSN Trauma and Your Family – handout (PDF)
This workshop is funded by a grant from the Petit Family Foundation.
When a child is misbehaving or an adult is struggling, consider looking the situation through a trauma lens and change the conversation from “What is wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”