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The following are a collection of posts, articles, print resources, and videos to help you, your friends, and extended family understand the impacts of trauma on your child and your family.
Though not always leading to a disruption or out-of-home placement, many adoptive families struggle for years to create the peaceful family of which they had dreamed. Regrettably, one of the main barriers preventing such family harmony is one of the least understood when it comes to understanding the plight of the adopted child. The barrier is trauma.
I’m giving you this letter because you have expressed an interest in my experience as a parent of a traumatized, attachment-disordered child. It is not a story I relate to you lightly. My child has some very special needs and because of this, so do I. I need people to understand what our family faces, not just judge us as incompetent. It isn’t fair what happened to my child or to me. But it is what we are both facing, and we face it together everyday.
An event is traumatic when it threatens the child or someone the child depends on for safety and love. Abuse may be traumatic, but trauma may take many forms. It includes neglect, separations, violence between caregivers, natural disasters, or accidents. A frightened child may feel out-of-control and helpless. When this happens, the body’s protective reflexes are triggered. This can make a child’s heart pound and blood pressure rise. The “fight or flight” panic response can kick in.
Adoptive and foster families may struggle to understand and support their new children. Because these children may have experienced significant trauma prior to their placement, they may view and react to people and events in ways that may seem unusual, exaggerated, or irrational. Recent advances in developmental science are revealing how significant adversity in childhood alters both the way the genome is read and the developing brain is wired. In this way, early childhood trauma is biologically embedded, influencing learning, behavior and health for decades to come.
This 30-minute documentary video about psychological or emotional trauma in children is taken from interviews conducted at the From Neurons to Neighborhoods community conferences. The documentary is an overview to help those who care about children recognize, prevent and heal psychological trauma. Internationally and nationally recognized authorities who work with children and teenagers in the field of emotional trauma, including Drs. Bruce Perry and Daniel Siegel, offer new insight and information about the origins of relationship/developmental problems, as well as problems associated with PTSD later in life.