Trauma occurs when there is an overwhelming event or events that render a child helpless, powerless, or creates a threat of harm or loss to the child or to someone critically important to the child. Examples include physical, sexual or emotional abuse, chronic neglect, exposure to domestic violence, inconsistent caregiving due to parental substance abuse or mental illness, community violence or multiple moves within the foster care system.
When a child experiences strong, frequent, or prolonged trauma without adequate adult support, the child is in a chronic state of fight, flight or freeze. This is natural human instinct that is necessary for survival; however, when a person is in this state repeatedly or for prolonged periods of time, it leads to levels of stress that are toxic to the developing brain and body. As a result, regions of the brain involved in fear responses tend to over-develop, often resulting in under-development in other areas of the brain, impacting a child’s ability to learn, regulate emotions and behaviors, use effective coping skills, engage in positive relationships, and so much more.
Toxic stress has a cumulative effect. Children who have experienced untreated trauma have a greater likelihood of developmental delays, academic failure, behavioral issues, trust towards others and future mental and physical health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, depression, and earlier death.
We must change the conversation about children from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What’s happened to you?”
The therapists at Children’s Wellness Center of Colorado will complete a thorough assessment report, which outlines screening results and provides conclusions and recommendations for trauma treatment and interventions. Recommendations can include suggestions regarding academic or school supports, social emotional and behavioral support services, therapeutic approaches, and community resources.
Children’s Trauma Assessment Center
Contact us today to schedule a trauma assessment.