Building Relationships to Support Children Affected by Trauma
Colleen Lelli and Amber Gentile, Cabrini University
Grades: PreK – 12
Trauma can occur as a result of various tragedies and/or traumas like child abuse, car accidents, or domestic violence. Every year it is estimated that 5,000,000 new children are added to this list of significantly traumatized children and of these children, up to 50% will develop long-term debilitating after-effects of the trauma (Ziegler, 2013). Recent research has proven that trauma does in fact cause neurological changes and in effect does result in learning difficulties for many children (as cited in Craig, S., 2016). Furthermore, during times of national and/or local crisis educators need to be able to implement trauma informed practices which will benefit students and support themselves to practice self-care. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased uncertainty and stress. Acute stress causes areas of the brain to operate in a survival mode. Thinking will become more stringent; attention is focused on the present and staying safe and therefore planning and thinking ahead is difficult. Regulation of emotions is difficult and decision making is hampered. During stressful times, safety is threatened, and power and control is lost.