Did you know it was only in the past 30 years that brain scientists started to link traumatic experiences with maladaptive behaviors in children? That's right, only recently was the connection made between the trauma children experience and its negative consequences. The scientific and mental health care communities held that children were resilient and would bounce back from adverse experiences. The seminal work of Anda et al. (2006) and work by Dr. Bruce Perry (among so many others) showed a stark contrast to what was previously thought. Instead of being resilient and bouncing back, evidence started to pile up that the impacts of childhood trauma follow people well into adulthood. Not only are trauma-affected youth more likely to struggle with concentration, planning, emotional regulation, and relationships, but they are also more likely to have health problems throughout their lives. Why is that? Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. did a ton of work looking at how trauma impacts the brain. The answer to the question of how does trauma have such a significant and lasting impact on children is that it quite literally interrupts normal brain development. Curious to know how and also why it matters, keep reading!
Do you have students who shut down, refuse to work, or avoid normal school expectations? There's likely an underlying reason for this type of behavior. One way to solve the problem is to determine that underlying reason and help students replace the behavior. This strategy is called developing replacement behaviors and it works great with trauma-affected youth who may struggle with self-regulation. Replacement behaviors are more appropriate and productive behaviors that students develop to take the place of maladaptive ones. Developing replacement behaviors can get students active in the classroom, improve their confidence, and strengthen relationships and the overall classroom community. Read on to learn how to help students replace maladaptive behaviors with replacement behaviors.
My name is Erin E. Silcox. I'm working on my Ph.D. in Literacy Education, focusing on the intersection of trauma and literacy. I want to deepen our base of knowledge about trauma-informed practices in schools and help teachers apply findings right now.