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Trauma and the Impact on Our Children

When schools have a Curriculum day, parents often think what do we actually do. Is it a day off for the teachers? Do we go to school? Do we plan? What do we do? Well I can tell you that on our most recent Curriculum day, we participated in the most fascinating professional development. Our presenter was Alexa Duke from the Australian Childhood Foundation and the workshop was called Making Space for Learning - Trauma Informed Practice in Schools.

I wanted to share some of the information and facts I picked up along the way. There was a wealth of information that I will certainly put into practice within my classroom but I wanted to share these points.

  • General trauma impacts children’s learning and all elements of their development which neuroscience research shows.

  • Children who suffer trauma, don’t trust adults because adults haven’t kept them safe in the past.

  • Trauma is defined as any single, ongoing or cumulative experience which is a perceived threat, usually to survive, overwhelms our capacity to cope, feels outside our control, and often evokes a physiological and psychological set of responses based on fear or avoidance.

  • Types of behaviours that can possibly be displayed as a result of trauma include manipulation, issues maintaining friends, being nasty, withdrawn and quiet or lies and makes excuses for their actions.

  • There are different types of trauma: simple, complex, developmental, inter- generational and trans-generational.

  • Babies can be impacted in utero by domestic violence resulting in increased heartbeat which also impacts the stem of the brain.

  • A child’s emotional stress is an indicator of their internal world. We need to create safety, calmness, connection and control to support their emotions.

  • Developmental trauma healing involves safety, self-regulation, self-reflection and rational engagement.

  • The key to reshaping trauma behaviour is to understand it and respond at its source rather than how it is expressed.

Armed with this information and a lot more, I am excited to put in place a few activities for my students that we can all benefit from, not just those students impacted by trauma.

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