A collection of frequently visited links on Hofstra.edu.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private college on Long Island, NY, where students can choose from more than 140 undergraduate and 150 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education, health and human services, and honors studies, as well as a School of Law and School of Medicine. | more |
All children can experience a full range of traumatic stress reactions with very young children particularly vulnerable (Scheeringa, Zeanah et. al. 2005). The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (2006) state:
More than twenty years of studies have confirmed that school-age children and adolescents can experience the full range of posttraumatic stress reactions that are seen in adults. We might wish to believe that children under five years of age are too young to know what was happening during a traumatic event and that whatever impression was left would be forgotten soon. However, recent studies show that traumatic experiences affect the brains, minds, and behavior of even very young children, causing similar reaction to those seen in older children and adults (p.6).
The National Science Council on the Developing Child provides more detailed information about the effects of complex trauma on children. NSCDC states:
The fact that many young children are exposed to significant stresses is old news. How different aspects of a child’s environment can be a source of continuous stress, and the degree to which children’s past developmental experiences influence their biological responsiveness to later stressful conditions are not appreciated by most adults. The realization that stresses experienced by parents and other caregivers can affect a child’s developing brain architecture and chemistry in a way that makes some children more susceptible to stress-related disorders later in life is startling new to most people (p.6).
Focusing on Science the Council states:
The Council notes:
The capacity to deal with stress is controlled by a set of highly inter-related brain circuits and hormonal systems that are specifically designed to deal adaptively with environmental challenges. When an individual feels threatened, stress hormones are produced that convert the physical or emotional stress into chemical signals that are sent throughout the body as well as the brain (p.2).
The Council notes that “stress responses include activation of a variety of hormone and neurochemical systems throughout the body” (p.2). This includes:
The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child then focuses on studies of children that document what they refer to as “a compelling story about the relation between early stress experiences an human development” (p.4):
Research on children and trauma supports the basic framework, philosophy and purpose of ICEC and the recommendations of international scholars associated with the Center. The psychiatrist Bessel Van der Kolk (2005) stresses the importance of “establishing safety and competence for children who have experienced complex traumas. He writes:
Complexly traumatized children need to be helped to engage their attention in pursuits that do not remind them of trauma-related triggers and that give them a sense of pleasure and mastery. Safety, predictability, and “fun” are essential for the establishment of the capacity to observe what is going on, put it into a larger context, and initiate physiological and motoric self-regulation.
Before addressing anything else, these children need to be helped how to react differently from their habitual fight/flight/freeze reactions. Only after children develop the capacity to focus on pleasurable activities without becoming disorganized do they have a chance to develop the capacity to play with other children, engage in simple group activities and deal with more complex issues (p.7).