DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA AND ITS IMPACT ON CHILDREN S FUNCTIONING. Presented by: Kym Asam, LICSW, QMHP

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1 DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA AND ITS IMPACT ON CHILDREN S FUNCTIONING Presented by: Kym Asam, LICSW, QMHP

2 OBJECTIVES Definitions Understand the impact of developmental trauma on the brain Understand students states of arousal and how it impacts their functioning Key skills for working with children

3 WHAT IS TRAUMA? Trauma is not just an event itself, but rather a response to a stressful experience in which a person s ability to cope is dramatically undermined.

4 WHAT IS DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA? A psychological and neurobiological injury that results from protracted exposure to stressful events Derails typical development across all domains (attachment, affect management, biology, behavior management, cognition, dissociation and selfconcept) Experiences often occur in the caregiving system. Impact is immediate and long term

5 SOURCES OF TRAUMA Sexual abuse Physical abuse Emotional abuse Neglect Domestic Violence Neighborhood violence Torture Bullying Prolonged exposure to traumatic stress Intrauterine stress Epigenetics

6 THE BRAIN DEVELOPS FROM THE BOTTOM UP Cortex Limbic Diencephalon Brainstem and the inside out

7 BRAIN BUILDERS

8 Abstract thought Concrete Thought Affiliation "Attachment" Sexual Behavior Emotional Reactivity Motor Regulation "Arousal" Appetite/Satiety Sleep Blood Pressure Heart Rate Body Temperature

9 DEVELOPMENTAL AGENDA

10 THE STILL FACE EXPERIMENT

11 IMPACT OF NEGLECT ON THE BRAIN

12 BOTTOM UP, INSIDE OUT

13 SEQUENTIAL THINKING A child s successful completion of many academic tasks depends on the ability to bring a linear order to the chaos of daily experience. Traumatic experience can limit this ability to organize material sequentially, leading to difficulty in reading, writing and communicating verbally. From Helping the Traumatized Child Learn

14 EFFECTS OF TRAUMA ON BRAIN FUNCTIONING Prefrontal Cortex (Integration and Planning) Thalamus Visual, auditory, olfactory, kinesthetic, gustatory Hippocampus (cognitive map) Amygdala (Intensity/significance)

15 NORMATIVE DANGER RESPONSES AUTONOMIC NERVOUS RESPONSE SYSTEM Fight Flight Freeze Flock

16 COMPETING DEMANDS Survival vs. learning It is nearly impossible to dedicate your full attention and energy to survival and learning at the same time.

17 THE AROUSAL CONTINUUM Hyperarousal: Body s hard wired physiological and emotional response to extreme danger readying us for fighting, fleeing, freezing or flocking. Chronic hyperarousal is a distressing, physically uncomfortable state and interferes with other functioning. Child can look constantly on edge, startles easily, is ever-vigilant, cannot relax, overreacts to minor provocations and likely has disrupted sleep.

18 Reason Relate Sequence of Engagement Regulate All rights reserved Bruce D. Perry

19 HOW TO INTERVENE Somatosensory interventions Targeting the part of the brain that was impacted by developmental insults EVERY DAY EVERY GRADE EVERY BODY

20 REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT! Patterned Consistent More intensity Curiosity

21 4 KEY PRINCIPLES OF ATTACHMENT Build school staff capacity to manage affect Build school staff-child attunement Build consistency in school staff response to child behavior Build routines and rituals into classroom and school

22 AFFECT MANAGEMENT When caregivers modulate their own affect and emotional responses, they can create an emotionally safe environment in which children a can learn

23 ATTUNEMENT Caregivers accurately read cues to respond to underlying emotion rather than overt behavior. Behavior is usually a front for feeling that a child has difficulty expressing in a more effective way.

24 ATTUNEMENT Communicating unmet needs What is the function of the behavior? Being a feelings detective!

25 CONSISTENT RESPONSE Caregivers respond in a consistent way to both positive (desired) and negative/unsafe behaviors. Predictability reduces the child s need for control.

26 ROUTINES AND RITUALS Routines increases predictability and the child s ability to anticipate next steps. Establishing classroom and school-wide routines helps reduce trouble spots (transitions, substitute teachers, unstructured activities/days).

27 COMPETENCY 3 KEY PRINCIPLES Build student executive functioning skills Target self-development and identity Target additional key developmental tasks The child develops an ability to evaluate situations, inhibit impulsive responses and actively make choices.

28 ATTUNEMENT What has happened to you in the past? Is it affecting you today? How can I help? Adverse Childhood Effect Study Dr. Fellitti

29 BUILDING TRAUMA INFORMED COMMUNITIES Stage, not age developmental perspective Adult affect management Reframe attention seeking as validation seeking or response seeking. A primary function of behavior is survival Trauma survival is lonely. Combat loneliness with empathy and validation Collaboration and integrated services (include family!) Trauma is a vertical (mind/body; body/mind) experience. Nurture and heal both! Why is it so radical and debatable to give these kids what we give our kids?

30 QUESTIONS?????

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