The Impact of Trauma on Child Development: What justice professionals needs to know

The Impact of Trauma on Child Development: what justice professionals needs to know
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-07-18
Unit 1Slide Deck: The Impact of Trauma on Child Development
Unit 2Workbook: The Impact of Trauma on Child Development
Unit 3Recording: The Impact of Trauma on Child Development

Through numerous courses tackling trauma here on Justice Clearinghouse, we’ve established its detrimental effects on different facets of an individual’s life. This session will unpack how trauma specifically exhibits in children and how it impacts them.

Duane Bowers, one of Justice Clearinghouse’s regular esteemed resource speakers, is back once again to share his expertise. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Educator and a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist who specializes in trauma, traumatic loss, and missing, abducted and exploited children. He provides support, training and supervision for various companies and public agencies’ staff and volunteers on the aforementioned topics. He is also the author of  Guiding Your Family Through Loss and Grief, and A Child is Missing: Providing Support for Families of Missing Children.

Specifics Duane tackled on this course include:

  • The different types of trauma and violence that children may be subjected to, and the factors that make an event traumatic.
  • The DSM definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • What traumatic response is, its characteristics and symptoms, and the core issues of trauma for a child.
  • The amygdala, its role in the brain, and how it relates to trauma.
  • The role of the hippocampus and how trauma impacts its proper functioning.
  • Statistics that demonstrate how the effects of childhood trauma manifest in adulthood.
  • The concept of intergenerational trauma and how it is transferred.
    • Through epigenetics that alters the genetic makeup of individuals subjected to abuse and trauma.
    • Developmental – physiological where children in the first two years of life and even pre-natal experience incomplete brain development thus impacting emotions, relationships and learning.
    • Developmental – programming where a fetus in a mother’s womb is programmed to learn based on the mother’s behavior.
    • Environmental where learned behavior and secondary (witnessed) trauma creates the propensity to tolerate abuse and be further traumatized.
  • A look into the stages of a child’s brain development and how trauma can prevent higher thinking in the cerebral cortex.
  • Core concepts of traumatic stress response in children highlighting:
    • The wide range of reactions children may have to trauma and loss.
    • The danger and safety concerns that traumatized children will consistently have.
    • How trauma influence development.
    • How culture and history may potentially trigger trauma.
  • A look into Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how trauma can inhibit a child or adult into progressing up the hierarchy due to safety and security issues.
  • How traumatic response in children can become lifelong patterns of behavior and normalized without proper intervention.
  • The ways that trauma physically alters the different parts of the brain and affects its functions including learning, motor skills, higher thinking and regulation of feelings.
  • The effect of trauma on children of different ages.
  • Interventions to employ by:
    • Teaching the virtue of hope.
    • Enhancing the sense of safety they’ve lost through abuse.
    • Allowing them to tell their story, identify their feelings, and share their thoughts.
    • Bilateral processing exercises to help with brain development.
    • Teaching stress reduction and mindfulness practices.
    • Building their resiliency.
  • Signs that a child is getting better and how to further support them into overcoming the trauma they experienced.
  • Questions raised by the webinar attendees were about:
    • How trauma experienced by the mother around the second trimester affects the baby.
    • References and resources used for the webinar.
    • Children who experienced trauma but grow up normally.
    • The link between prenatal trauma, miscarriages and stillbirth.
    • Trauma from witnessing abuse of an animal.


Audience Comments:

  • “I think the most valuable thing I learned is that trauma can start impacting the brain even before the baby is born. Trauma that happens after birth continues to impact the brain. This is very useful knowledge in my line of work (CPS).” — Taylor
  • “Breaking down the brain and how each part works in regards to why people respond to things and how they perceive things, excellent information, can not only pertain to children but adults as well. Very informative and was explained well.” — Regina
  • ” The Presenter is exceptionally knowledgeable.” — Becky
  • “Excellent practical examples of scientific principles.” — Nadine
  • “There was so much information, but learning that many of my clients and their children could suffer from PTSD is huge.” — Milissa
  • “This was the best webinar I have seen in a long time. I had no idea that trauma experienced by the mother would affect a baby pre-nataly.” — Mary
  • “Great webinar. Lots of information and great graphics. I liked the advice, when working with any and all children with a disorder, to screen for trauma.” — Lezlie
  • “The presenter was so enthusiastic and appeared very passionate about the topic so it had me reeled in the whole time. Thank you :)” — Karen
  • “There was so much valuable information. This may be one of the best webinars I have attended. I particularly thought the information about how children are more impacted by witnessing trauma occurring to another person/animal, especially a person they are close to then if the trauma occurred directly to them.” — Brenda
  • “Mr. Bowers was breathtakingly informed and interesting.” — Andrew
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