Working with high-risk youth and fatherless young men brings to light a lot of emotional trauma the biggest of which are neglect and psychological. Another part of their lives that cause stress is that many of these boys have witnessed family violence and/or have lost family and friends to gangs and drugs.
These can cause feelings of fear, worry and sadness which can lead to feeling low self-worth and self-esteem, and not being able to trust others.
In schools today I have also witnessed the effects of being bullied and picked on.
All of these actions can lead to behaviors such as aggression, self-harm, and abuse of drugs or alcohol.
My work has put me in contact with adults who are survivors of developmental and complex trauma. One client has experienced stomach disorders, constipation, abusive relationships and has had alcohol and other drug problems. She had been diagnosed as ADHD as a youth. When I asked about her childhood she said her father was an alcoholic so her childhood came “with all the lumps and bumps of that”. She has seen several therapists and trauma was never reflected on as a possible cause. Being able to see how this childhood/adolescent trauma connects with her difficulties now, both physical and emotional has really helped her to start to work through it and understand how her mind and body are affected.
I also have another client who was severely bullied as a teenager to the point he was hospitalised, suffering auditory and visual hallucinations. He had a situation in his 20s where he got so sick (cause unknown) he was unable to speak for a week and has little memory of past events.He suffers from severe anxiety and trust issues with his partner. Similarly, this client never considered this as a cause for his present circumstances (such as anxiety in crowds because he feared what they were saying about him or may potentially do to him) when we started to explored the possibilities he said he felt a shift in his body, a release and lightness that he had never felt before.
I think that bullying needs to be included as a specific cause of trauma all on its own because while it is about physical and emotional violence and abuse it is also demonstrates several unique factors such as the bullying is often from their peers and parents and other adults in authority are often helpless to prevent it. These two factors alone can cause issues ranging from trust, attachment and negative world view. It can be also be unrelenting especially now that we take into account social media and its potential for 24/7 wider-reaching bullying (which my niece was subjected to and attempted suicide as a direct result as so many other young people are doing.)
What I am finding in my line of work is often times women, some even young girls, are becoming pregnant and having multiple children, all from different fathers. I think due to their childhood trauma, whether it be neglect, verbal abuse, exposure to domestic violence etc… they are looking for that unconditional love or trying to fill a void due to their trauma. Many times what I see is parents end up doing what they know, or raising their children how they were raised due to not knowing anything different but not meaning to harm or repeat what they experienced in their childhood. I am also seeing trauma due to migrants, whom have lived here and have been working and contributing to society, being scared and passing this trauma on to their children in the home. I think we are going to see more of this in the future.
When working as a Community Educator and delivering lessons to both middle and high school adolescent; I have noticed many signs and symptoms of possible multi layered experiences of trauma. As a Trauma Incident Reduction Facilitator I encounter many clients whose lives have been disrupted or even paralyzed because of complex trauma.
I am trying to comment and post before reading others’. It’s hard. I glimpsed that someone works with migrants and this is a group I feel great connection with! See below.
I am not currently working with youth. I hope to resume working with adolescents, teaching mindfulness in some volunteer capacity. In 2012, I volunteered briefly at a shelter for neglected, abused, and abandoned children in Mexico who ranged in age from infancy until aging out at age 16. Given the short period of time I was present at the shelter, and considering my inexperience in dealing with this population, my recollection is of them having lots of energy, exhibited as running, jumping, interacting with each other, and, most especially, wanting to be close to and receive attention from us, the volunteers. However, the staff person who lived at the shelter shared with me details of how they were abused, abandoned (left on the streets of Guadalajara, etc.) or simply unable to be cared for due to the lack of resources of their parents/primary caregivers. One take-away from this experience was not to assume by outward behavior what someone may be experiencing internally.
More recently, while volunteer-teaching mindfulness at a shelter for homeless youth (typically ages 18-24), my experience of them was of resilience in the face of extreme hardship. I have no idea to what if any degree they were able to absorb and incorporate the skills being shared with them. Most of the time they slept with their heads resting on the table around which we sat.
Most recently, teaching mindfulness in an after-school teen program, with relatively affluent youth of hispanic descent, my experience was that they were experiencing chronic over-stimulation, even chaos, internally (hormones) and externally (school, internet, home).
I have a strong aspiration to share mindfulness skills with immigrants and in particular the undocumented population. I am already sufficiently involved with immigration reform and immigrant rights through the local Sanctuary movement to see and hear first-hand how frightened, hurt, and angry are children and parents facing the threat of deportation. With the minimal understanding I have of trauma in its various dimensions I must practice due self-care to avoid vicariously traumatizing myself (ok, call it “white fragility” if you must!) so that I may leverage effectively my privilege in service to these folks! My sense is that understanding broadly and deeply how trauma manifests in myself and others, individually, within the family, and at the level of community and society, will help me achieve this aspiration.
As a mental health professional working inside a high school, I see students with an array of trauma. A majority of the trauma has been the result of ACEs. Often times, the students have experienced or are currently experiencing at least three ACEs. The symptoms and behaviors of these traumas cause the students to be referred to me. They become physically aggressive with other students, use substances. and are unable to focus on school work. I am constantly frustrated because of the disconnect between school’s expectations of the students and their personal narratives. It seems that the school administration expects the students to put aside these traumas and focus on school work; which is not realistic.
I was aware of Intergenerational Trauma before watching these videos. Historical trauma is a term that is new to me. From this point on, I will be more aware of and assess for both Intergenerational Trauma and Historical Trauma.
I teach children and youth who have serious, sometimes life threatening illnesses and injuries, and their siblings. Going through this type of event is often very traumatic for these children. I’ve seen it present as extreme anxiety, behavioral challenges, withdrawal, depression, lack of focus, avoidance behavior, fear, changes in personality, inability to cope, and anger towards caregivers. I’ve recently had an influx of students (sick and sibling) with complex diagnoses including adhd, anxiety disorders, sensory disorders, ocd, and odd. I thought the part that talked about kids being diagnosed with things such as adhd without taking into account family history was very interesting in light of my recent experience with so many of my students having one or more diagnoses.
Being fairly new as a youth advocate at a shelter house for domestic and sexual violence I have worked with a few children who have been victims of the domestic violence themselves. Whether it is a mother or father using the abusive words towards them or they physically see their parents harming the other parent, it effects each child differently. Some children who have witnessed physical and verbal abuse are often times withdrawn from everyone else. We hold group nights for the kids each week doing different activities ranging from arts and crafts to pictionary, and those who have been through these events often times like to sit by themselves and not interact with others. Therefore, it is my job to help them, try and have them interact. Not forcefully, but just letting the children know that you are there to help them and not hurt them or bring up certain memories, really helps. It took about a week for one of the kids to open up and join in, but they did and you could just see the difference. There are all different types of traumas and the age range varies from toddlers up unto middle school. So far the only types of trauma witnessed have been domestic violence and the emotional abuse that comes with it.
I encounter various types of trauma in working with youth. A lot of the clients who we work with have been in treatment, on and off, for several years by the point they reach us, so some of them are very forthcoming about the trauma they have experienced. We encounter a fair amount of clients who have parents or siblings that deal with drug and alcohol addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders. I would say we have more clients who do have an immediate family member with one of those issues, than those who don’t.
We also have some clients who have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse as children. For our female clients, we have a fair amount who have experienced domestic or sexual abuse in the past few years. Oftentimes, the cycle of physical/emotional/sexual abuse is tightly knit with the cycle of drug abuse. Clients have often experienced abuse as children, which played a factor in their drug use as young adults. In turn, their drug use caused them to make unhealthy decisions, allow themselves to be around abusive people, and put themselves in dangerous situations. In turn, additional abuse often occurs. This abuse in a way fuels their drug use further by causing their self-esteem to become even lower than it already is.
I work with individuals who have trauma that manifests as an adverse response to authority figures. This is especially true with male clients and male authority figures. This was addressed in the presentation, but I believe that this trauma (in some instances) stems from a combination of bad experiences with father figures in youth, and experiences with officers of the law in young adulthood. This was addressed as part of the spectrum of trauma, and how it can be influenced by several types of events.
We definitely see clients who have experienced a spectrum of trauma. A lot of the time, clients are not so outward with the manifestations of this trauma, their years of drug abuse are definitely an outward manifestation of trauma experienced in the past. In helping clients deal with their drug abuse, we often delve into the triggers of use for them, And in doing that, past trauma often comes up in that discussion.
My exposure to trauma is mainly through working with adults in a somatic-based yoga therapy setting one on one. Through this work I see high amounts of complex trauma that extends back to childhood where insecure attachment styles have set the foundation for dysregulation. Their motivation for coming to me is that another or other traumatic events in their adulthood have re-opened their wounds and their insecure attachment style leaves them with no sense of being grounded or in control.
Some populations that I have worked with not directly mentioned in the ACE’s is with disability (spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, ALS, MS). Trauma is prevalent in these populations. A child who lives with a disability through their developmental stages carries a variety of complex trauma from the original accident or occurrence, to the trials of physical and mental adaption, and the outside discrimination from society at large. A child with a parent living with one of these disabilities is also tremendously affected as the expectations and needs around care may not be met for that child because the family focus is around the family member living with that disability. These situations in my experience have many layers and are full of complexity for every member of the household.
In working with youth and families who are connected to children’s services I see and work with all sorts of traumas. I have worked with youth who were present during natural disasters in their home countries. I have worked with youth whose parents suffered from addictions, who were in and out of prison and who were repeatedly physically, emotionally and psychologically abused. The number one trauma that I work with in this line of work comes from neglect. Often I end up working with youth and families who have been neglected or neglected the basic needs of children thus causing a need to apprehend children from their homes which becomes the second trauma leading to attachment issues. I’ve worked with multiple youth who have suffered birth trauma’s such as complications at birth that result in impairments later on in their lives. I work with you who have been in and out of the foster care system and express behaviors that are, in my opinion, expressions of the trauma, they are enacting avoidant behaviors and suffer with altered moods and are seemingly provoked by little to no stimuli. I see the youth that I work with as suffering multiple traumas throughout development in all forms and what happens is more shame and punishment for behaviors that are really just communication attempts to express the hurt and wounds that they live with every day. Working within community and serving indigenous families I become witness to the generational trauma’s that shape the lives of children and their children thereafter.
I work at a performing arts school and most often I see students who express their trauma through severe anxiety and panic attacks. In this creative setting students are asked to explore their own identities and express themselves – their thoughts/feelings/perspectives – which often stirs up past trauma histories. One day I noticed the school hallway had been graffitied by a student who wrote, “forgive yourself for all the years of mental illness.” It is both healing and perhaps re-traumatizing for these young people to look at themselves and their lives in a critical way and makes sense of it through their art.
Up until 3 years ago I worked in a rural under served area providing medical and mental health care to children. Then 3 years ago I moved to work in the inner city. My old diagnoses and my old paradigms no longer worked. With a lot of reading I finally began to understand the complex layers of trauma that were affecting these children. A large majority of these children have ACE scores well above 4 before they are 4 years of age. I can think of patient after patient from the projects that score 10 out of 10 on the ACES. I am just beginning to explore and understand the Inter- generational and Historical Trauma and hope that it will help me understand how to better help my patients and their parents. I have ordered Joy DeGruy’s book this week and had already ordered a book I have just started called, “Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America”. I really believe we must understand the “why” before we can help these children, otherwise it seems like we are just putting a band aid on a gushing wound.
I’ve worked with Residential School survivors for 10 years in various capacities and during that time I helped them deal with complex PTSD, flashbacks, nightmares, day mares, etc. Through much of my work with them we’ve discussed vicarious trauma, complex trauma and historical trauma.
In my work as a Child Protection worker I have worked with many clients who have experienced various degrees of trauma, abuse and neglect. I have had some minor triggers to my own trauma experiences while dealing with some of my more complex cases.
I have done a lot of readings on trauma informed care and have found a few good resources out there. I am willing to learn and do whatever I can to help clients move forward
I work in a city plagued by violence, drug use, and overdoses. Dayton currently has the highest heroin overdose rate in the entire United States. Our morgues are filled to capacity and are struggling to accommodate the influx of bodies. I work with children who have been traumatized by the effects of this epidemic due to neglect, loss of caregivers, and witnessing violence. Many of my clients have found parents and siblings after they overdosed. They struggle in the classroom behaviorally and academically. Much of my work is not only providing counseling services and support to these students, but educating teachers and administration as well.
I deal with children everyday who have been abused in every way possible. I have children that have been given back to the state because the parents feel they can no longer care for them. Just today, one of my moms that was close to having her 13 year old daughter returned to her was found murdered. The stress I feel is that some of these kids have no one to care for them.
I have been an advocate for abused and/or neglected children for 12 years. Over that time I have dealt a lot with children and families experiencing all types of trauma. One question I have had and have heard others ask is why would a parent repeat the same abuse or neglect to their own children that they themselves suffered? The part of this unit on Intergenerational Trauma was very interesting to me. About 90% of our cases are a result of substance dependency. There is a lot of mental illness involved as well.
As an educator in a very poor high school, I see a lot of anger in the youth today. I am not a psychologist or social worker and do not want to diagnose but everything I have learned in this first week makes sense to me. I think there are areas in the Southern United States where the historical and intergenerational trauma could be very relevant. I was also very intrigued by the noncoding DNA. I guess my biggest question as an educator is how do we get through these barriers to learning and still educate students? Looking forward to learning more.
I must say working as a Community Development Officer and dealing with children who have been affected by child abuse both directly and indirectly. As a social worker I came across children who affected from almost all the ACEs especially in the area of Physical, Sexual and Neglectful abuse; where the child would exhibit behavior such as having excessive temper and aggressive behaviors. The children would also demand attention through both positive and negative behavior and the main one is that they would build up a wall around themselves which create them having issues of trust.
One of our best practices is whenever we come in contact with a child being affected by abuse despite, the type of abuse we would refer that child to counseling. Since, we believe that the incident can pose some sort of traumatic effect on that child.
The students at my high school have experienced a wide variety of traumatic events. This includes most of those mentioned in the videos: Peer suicides, Divorce, Religious persecution, Racism, Refugees, Fear of police, Fear of Immigration, Gun violence, Domestic violence, Rape, Partner violence, Food insecurity, Bullying. Two years ago, a student completed suicide by gun on the school campus during the school day. Our most recent suicide (at least, confirmed as suicide) occurred six months ago.
The students are adept at identifying major events that have cause trauma- suicide, domestic violence, fear of deportation, etc. They are not so adept at recognizing that the “smaller” events can be just as impactful, particularly if there are multiple that have occurred over time. They also don’t recognize the relationship between these events, stressors, and physical (headaches, stomachaches, nausea, hair loss, psoriasis, etc) or emotional (moody, angry, resentful, apathetic, depressed, anxious, crying, etc) states. Linking the pieces can be difficult- I can’t focus in class because I am (anxious/sad/afraid) because XX.
Within the public school parameters, I do a lot of 1:1 work, sometimes in coordination with the student’s private psychologist/therapist. Many of my families do not have the financial resources to pursue treatment, even when a student requires acute care. We know that we must address Maslow’s hierarchy of needs before learning can occur, yet so many of those needs cannot be fulfilled solely within the school environment. Some days, it just feels like band-aids.
At our program we encounter students who have a wide range of trauma and/or suspected trauma. We don’t always get the full picture from them, parents/guardians, or school. This is a very challenging situation to help determine our roles as facilitators. As our student are mainly growing and living in impoverished areas they have most likely been exposed to emotional and physical adverse childhood experiences. There is a high number of students who come from nuclear families that have very strong connections. Often hearing students saying “he’s my cousin” but not necessarily related my blood. They typically respect and protect each other.
We work with youth on a regular basis as program partner for a larger organization. Therefore we feel very connected with these young men. I have seen symptoms of PTSD such as intrusion, avoidance, and hypersensitivity such as arousal to our activities as they are far outside their normal comfort zones. I have seen more emotional disturbance that can result in misbehavior, anger, sadness, and poor decision making.
The work we do with IHAD is with many students who have greater susceptibility for ACEs as they are growing up in poverty. We have a number of students who have experienced substance abuse and mental illness in their homes. We also have many undocumented families which leads to trauma around fear and community instability. Part of the reason I am participating in this training is because of the number of kiddos we are realizing have trauma in their lives.
Is there a way we can work so we can comment on each others’ comments? To provide some community engagement and resource sharing?
My work has lead me to youth, who have experienced some level of trauma, many complex trauma. These youth have traumas that have taken place in the home or community. Much of the trauma I see has been from sexual abuse or domestic violence. Many times with sexual abuse trauma is presented in a child acting out sexually. Often times adults do not know this and punish the child, or think the child is just behaving badly. I work a client who is emotionally stunted and acts the age that she was when her trauma took place. My client is 13 but acts and speaks like a 7 year old, it came to be when she was 7 she experienced a traumatic event, a sexual abuse. This is a presentation of trauma that many people and professionals are not aware of. Clients may become mentally stuck at the age where there trauma happened, although you may be speaking to a 20 year old, mentally and emotionally they may be at the age of their trauma.
I am just getting into the field of working with youth but I have mostly spent my time in classrooms and schools working with youth who had behavioural ‘problems’. I have worked in alternative education classrooms with students who have been suspended or expelled from their regular school and I learned a lot about trauma in that class. I learned of students who experienced physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical and emotional neglect and alcohol and drug exposure. I am glad to learn a little more about PTSD as I have members in my family who are first responders and this topic is very very relevant right now.
I must say that since working in Child Protection Services, I come in contact with children who have experienced varying levels of trauma. This trauma is evident due to some Adverse Childhood Experiences that they may have endured. The most existent ones are Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Neglect and DV. Prior to direct contact with the child, we may have an idea based on allegation of report as to what the child may have experienced. However, after making direct contact most of the time, it is observed that there are various reasons for this existing ACE. This then gives us an idea as to the ACEs that are existent in the client’s life. We are then able to have a clear picture of what exactly the child had experienced. Bearing in mind that although you may have been fortunate in having the child to disclose this very personal information, it is accompanied by anger and aggression. However, this is for those days when the client is willing to share his/her story. The problem arises when the client is withdrawn and quiet. You are aware, based on the fact that contact is being made, that there is existing trauma, but you may not know where it stems from. This can make it very challenging in our nature of work. However, being able to have support services is very much helpful and effective since they can be referred to persons who are specialized in dealing with such.
As a new counselor, I’ve noticed more children and adolescents with complex trauma then trauma from a single episode. The kids on my caseload have endured everything from exposure to alcohol and other drugs to sexual abuse. Before getting my counseling degree, I spent about 10 years working with domestic violence victims and their families. Looking back, I think I would add living in a shelter as an added trauma for those kids! I was especially interested in the hypo-arousal response to trauma. I’ve seen this in kids, but hadn’t realized it was a response to trauma. That along with the negative disturbance in mood and cognition are areas I’d like to review more. As a counselor, I’ve discovered how difficult it is to help traumatized kids feel safe – even while they’re in my office. I’m looking forward to learning more about how these kids are impacted by trauma and ways I can be more effective with them.
Between my day job as a trauma-informed interior designer (not kidding!) and opening our home on evenings and weekends to young ones, most types of trauma the course listed seem to be in the lives of those I serve. I’ve designed new homes for 3 house fire victims. That involves their children and the triggers we might not think of if not aware. Divorce also causes people to sell and re-purchase homes, leaving the children to adjust. Their ACE score can be high for sure. I also volunteer as a community pre-marriage counselor. Being aware of the ACE score paradigm has really helped me watch for red flags there.
Because some of my volunteer work is with youth in the church, I do see faith-trauma. Meaning – events that occur in peoples lives, which change their world-view, their God-view. The internal working models ascribed to God, may not pan out. One way I can support their process is to help them sort out what’s really true of God, and what is some sort of projection based on trauma from their past, or present. It’s a good adventure – and one I walked through myself in recovering from childhood sexual abuse, and then domestic abuse. It’s been worth the effort to find a real relationship with God as opposed to religion, which actually fueled my perpetrators. God is not like that!
Complex trauma is what I usually see with the youth I work with. Neglect can be a strong component. I am curious about intergenerational trauma. I am sure it is a driver in many of the youth, I don’t currently have enough information about their histories to know.
Sexual abuse and ritual abuse have been very difficult and multilayered trauma events that have come up repeatedly in my work. I’m always looking for more understanding and tools to use in helping these people recover.
The third graders i worked with last year fell into this complex trauma so perfectly…sadly, the intergenerational trauma is an epidemic. Our of 18 students in our room, we had 5 boys that were called by the principal ADHD, but not diagnosed. They were yelled at, humiliated by other staff at the school. The teacher i worked with chose to approach them with compassion and love and we created a sanctuary for our boys in our room. I learned how a community like our school can have think it has the best intentions for troubled youth, but not the intelligence or heart to aid them. I am in a 5th grade class this year, same wonderful teacher I am assisting. We are a team that doesn’t fit into the rest of the school. The other teachers/staff openly share their dislike for certain kids because of their behavior and never seem willing or capable of looking at the situation deeper than the surface. This idea of historical and complex trauma is spot on for the area I am living. Drugs, alcohol, minimal education, prison – these are the common and norm. I realize that I may be looking at more children than i realized that fit these categories. So many don’t act out, but are silently stewing in their sadness and trauma. So much to learn in this area!
Currently the population of clients that I work have been exposed to many layers of trauma. I have seen cases where they have been exposed to drugs and alcohol, neglect, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse etc… Many of these exposures have led to a diagnosis of P.T.S.D. as well as many other mental health related issues. This relates to many of their explosive aggressive behaviors in the dormitory that I currently work. Trying to dig through all the trauma and bring out the positive in each client is a tough journey. However, it is much worth the battle to set some of these clients free. It is interesting to see the connection from abuse to the revolving “door” of mental health. It is also interesting to see these younger clients and the paths of life that they are headed down. I previously worked as a Correctional Officer for many years and can see the link between the inmates that received no treatment as trauma based youth and the ones who had been provided with helpful services. Cannot wait for the next lesson and the magnificent connections to continue to link themselves together.
Many of my students experience trauma during school, after school during their commute home and also at home. In addition, I have students that have been bullied and I have students that have been in fights at their current school and past schools. The majority of my students that fight are females, and as a result might transfer multiple times to several schools. Parental neglect is an issue at times for some of my students, some of my students are raising themselves, with no parental support or guidance.
I work with children that have a parent in prison. I believe that the majority of these children have experienced Complex Trauma. When children of the incarcerated are talked about, people like to focus on the single trauma of their parent being in prison and what this might mean for their future. I think that parental incarceration, just like other childhood traumas, is rarely a singular experience. The children that I work with have not only experienced their parent’s arrest, but often their drug use, other criminal behavior, neglect, poverty and often some form of physical or sexual abuse. This has been a very helpful unit for me because I was aware of the intrusive symptoms, but less aware of the avoidance symptoms.
I volunteer mostly with the parents of suicidal youth, or youth with serious mental health concerns. Many times the youth have not yet been diagnosed and the parents are at a loss as to why their children are so angst ridden that they are cutting, have body image issues and are suicidal or extremely irritable. In a way, I think it is the parents who are also suffering from a type of PTSD because of the ongoing stress in trying to keep their kids alive. I have lived with this myself for many years and many of my fellow parents in a support group I run refer to themselves as having PTSD although they would not fit the criteria under the DSM-5. Several of the children have been found to have been sexually abused by neighbors or other older youth or adults when they are in therapy and then the parents gain some understanding about their child’s trauma. A family member teaches at an inner city school in Detroit and is struggling to understand the students and their agression etc. and I am sure that there are many cases of Complex Trauma and PTSD amongst his students. Sharing with him and hopefully presenting some NAMI programs in the school might help the teachers relate better to the students. My insights and knowledge have been greatly enhanced by this first unit!
Most of the work I have been doing with youth has been in a school setting. With that being said, I have encountered multiple types of trauma on a daily basis with the youth I work with. I would say the most common ACE’s that I see are: Verbal & Physical Abuse, Emotional & Physical Neglect, Alcohol/Drug Exposure, Exposure to Mental Illness/Suicide Household member, and above all else Divorce or Separation of parents. In terms of how individuals present with trauma, I would agree with the ways mentioned. I feel as though I have not been working with youth long enough to see too extensively how trauma presents. However, have absolutely been able to recognize trauma presented through the ways mentioned thus far. This unit has been very helpful for me as it has forced me to reflect, make connections, and gain a better understanding of some of the behaviours my youth present as I move forward to becoming a Trauma Informed Professional.
Reading the thread is insightful and heavy. It’s amazing to see the work everyone is doing out there. I am still in graduate school and working in a practicum site but soon to graduate. My direct work in this field is brand new. I feel the truth ringing through the posts of the other educators out there and the way we ask our students to push their ongoing and past traumas to the side during school hours. This is impossible, of course, and often punishable, disgracefully. I hope to push Mindfulness curriculum into the school setting to provide support for students and skill building/resiliency training for them. I work with some students that are recurring victims within their communities and they pose as the most difficult cases. Sending them away to residential placement schools often seems like the best option but is it really working with a trauma informed lens? Is this the best or easiest way to serve the student? It’s always difficult to get district approval in this case so if it isn’t approved, how may we best support these students that chronically struggle with their trauma?
I encounter youth daily that have had traumatic or ACEs occur in their lives. I work with students K-12th grades who have behavioral issues and mental health concerns. They have been neglected, exposed to drugs and alcohol, and experienced unhealthy relationships throughout their lives. I agree that trauma is an epidemic in our society. I see how it effects our young people today and how adults are not taught how to work with these types of young people. On the other hand, I have some students who have experienced an immense number of ACEs, and they function very well. The key factor that I believe exists in these cases is resiliency. They are determined to overcome what they have been through and what they continue to live in daily. I believe most of my students have Developmental Trauma Disorder rather than the other things they have been diagnosed with, such as ADHD and Conduct Disorder. I hope to support and help these students to become productive members of society. I want to use what I learn in this course to do so.
As Dean of students at my high school that includes a large percentage of newcomer students from Mexico, central, and South America, I interact with students that are sent in to me with a referral. What I have noticed is that,after conversing with the majority of these students and getting to know them on a more personal level, they have lived through many traumatic experiences in their native countries and continue to struggle in a new place that is not very welcoming. I have young men who see violence as a normal part of life with family members being killed and young women who are physically abused and expected to keep quiet. The fear of immigration is keeping my students from coming to school as well. There is also a strong divide between my second and third generation Latinos and our newcomer community.
Working with both juveniles and adults who have sexually abused most of them have experienced trauma themselves even complex trauma. It does not always seem they have experienced sexual trauma but more often then not I find parental neglect, abdonmemt and parents who have been sexually abused themselves so linking that to the discussion around epigenetic’s can be fascinating.
working with juveniles that have a history of PTSD due to Sexual abuse, Physical and mental Abuse as well as autism and other mental disorders I have an encounter on a daily basis with each.
I work with children and young people who experience all different types of trauma as a play therapist and program leader at a children’s hospital. Some children have experienced a single trauma which has affected them and with relatively short term work the traumatic event can be worked through and integrated. Most of my clients have experienced complex trauma and a lot of it is ongoing with many being on child protection registers or worked with by different agencies.
Within the children’s hospital I believe this a a field of trauma that isn’t much looked at as the treatments at the hospital are life saving but at a high cost. Treatments are often brutal, invasive and prolonged and in some children can traumatise them. Over time they can become desensitised to the treatment to be able to psychologically cope with it. I have worked with children who do this by creating other parts that go through the treatment with them or for them. Others react in different ways between being hypo and hyper aroused. In addition the siblings of of child who is sick can also exhibit signs of vicarious trauma as a result of seeing what their siblings go through and the ongoing stress on the family. They can also suffer from unintentional neglect.
I find in he fields I work in it is difficult to get my colleagues to view what the children are experiencing as trauma, especially so in the hospital and with some of the children I work with in very wealthy households where the image of the perfect family masks the underlying issues and these children are often dismissed outright as having experienced trauma when they can have very complex trauma. In the UK it is almost seen as children from impoverished backgrounds can be seen as having experienced trauma but not if they are from a wealthy background unless it is a big event that an outsider would describe as traumatic rather than how it has been experienced by the young person.
Working in a juvenile justice residential treatment center therapists encounter all of the mentioned types of trauma: Complex Trauma, C-PTSD, Developmental Trauma Disorder, Historical and Intergenerational Trauma. We consistently work with youth who meet some or all 4 of the DSM-5 PTSD criteria. I can’t think of a client who presented symptoms that were not covered in Unit 1. Arousal symptoms and negative disturbances in mood and cognition are prevalent on a daily basis and are the symptoms we predominantly work through.
Well, to be blunt, it depends if I am able to get to a student(s) prior to mass casualty. If I can, they can very between having high or low ACES, but what is most interesting is their perspective. At this point, I am a fact finder and evaluator. For example, in one situation two male teens who bonded over their dislike of their home lives, which rolled over into a dislike of their educational environment. they gave each other negative reinforcement which solidified their decision to take action to harm others at their school. In this instance we were able to intervene prior to a mass casualty occurring. The teens scored 1 and 3 on the ACES. I spent several hours interviewing each teen and several hours interviewing each parent. I was searching through their lockers at school, and every nook and cranny in the home (prior to the parents returning to the home) and found nothing. Each teen had excellent grades. no absences, positive parent supervision and positive peer interactions. It is so interesting to me that these teens found each other- and their perceptions were so vastly different than the reality that we found (and I spent over two weeks there looking really hard for anything that was a trauma or a trigger) yet, nothing. They, through this unhealthy friendship, created trauma for themselves, changed their world view, remained hyperfocused on a singular goal and had a high arousal rate by anticipating their actions. They clearly did not have PTSD prior to their arrest, but if I would go back to reinterview I would suspect they now have higher ACES and complex trauma caused by arrest and incarceration. I would live to hear other peoples thoughts!
What I have come to witness as one who works with students (ages 4-18, as well as adults) is that the most prevalent forms of trauma comes from being exposed to domestic violence, community violence, intergenerational trauma, relational trauma, repeated exposure to dramatic details, all forms of neglect, sexual, emotional and physical abuse, aa well as intergenerational poverty. Adding to the aforementioned, it’s easily noted that victim(s) of bullying often will display one or more of the symptoms related to PTSD. I get it that those who are bullied are perhaps covered under the emotional abuse. I was not sure why there was not a direct mention of homelessness as being a correlating factor of trauma. Yet, some of the other causes may create a homelessness situation, war, natural disaster, or terrorism.
I just read this on the blog, “Traumatic events, such as witnessing a death or being bullied, can lead to mental health conditions such as PTSD and depression.” This comes from Dr. Nalin, so there it is, bullying is one of the many causes of trauma.
I work with students who demonstrate complex trauma and developmental trauma disorder. Just this week I have read three different things citing epigenetics and find it interesting that we are just now figuring this out. I am looking forward to learning more on the topic and to learn how to help me students and my daughters out.
As a Counsellor working with youths at a Behavior Modification Program, I’m exposed to all the trauma mentioned in Unit 1 (Complex Trauma, Evolving Field – PTSD, C-PTSD, Developmental Trauma Disorder and Historical). This includes but not limited to the ACEs study done By Dr. Vincent Felitti, poverty, natural and unnatural disasters, etc. Indicators are the 4 criteria of PTSD but more profoundly in ‘Negative Disturbance in Cognition Mood’. The effects of trauma is evident in the negative conversations and behavior, reflecting a negative worldview. These young men are not able to cope in a structured environment; they would avoid sessions, find it difficult to fulfill commitment and detach themselves from developing positive relationships.
Interesting question for someone who is not professionally working in this area, nor working with their client therapeutically! I am using the lens of one person’s life history while working through this course. I was already familiar with the ACEs but not other definitions of complex trauma – both myself and my subject score reasonably high using the ACE questionnaire. I found the expanded definition of trauma helpful, fitting much more with common sense than the DSM IV does. I need to investigate issues of attachment further, I’m quite sure they were insecure for this person’s early childhood, but were they perhaps disorganised? My earlier reading hasn’t shed much light on this. Intergenerational and historical trauma are new terms for me – I think I’d better order the book ‘It didn’t start with you’ as there are clear indicators of intergenerational trauma in this woman’s life, particularly as suicide attempts seem to be present on both sides of her family over the traceable two generations, and her own first attempt was at age 10. It is this intergenerational element that may resolve some of the difficulties I’ve had in analysing her story, as while much of her teenage years beg the definition of trauma, she herself can’t name an ‘event.’ Then again, who knows? She knows she doesn’t remember her childhood from before the age of 9 properly, and there are mounting questions over her earliest years, for which it is hard to know anything about (both her parents are now deceased).
The physical manifestation content of this course will be interesting, as this is what she is now having to deal with now she’s reached her mid-30s and showing signs of autoimmune disorders.
I see boys between the ages of 12-24 in schools and community base group programs who have experienced a minimum of 3 of the ACES. Behaviors most common are bulling, fighting, throwing chairs in class rooms, walking out with no notice, drug use in school. Not uncommon to be told by parents that they come from families with generations of abuse, both emotion and physical, most stories are of the grandfather on the father side of the family. Not so much on the mother side of the family. Some of the boys currently using drugs feel they need no permission to use because they see it being use by their parents in the home. We have boy in a middle school who recently OD, and is on 7 different meds daily, the mother is a active drug user and does not want to see the boy. He lives with his grandmother who at times is verbally abusively.
I work with youth in a high school setting. I have quite a few students who have experienced complex trauma.
Working in a juvenile rehabilitation facility, with more than 40 youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years, I encounter a wide range of trauma including complex trauma brought on by numerous Adverse Childhood Experiences or a combination of ACE’S mentioned in Module 1, Introduction to Trauma-Informed Care. Some adverse experiences that our clients are exposed to includes: Verbal Abuse, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Emotional Neglect, Physical Neglect, Divorce/Separation, Domestic Violence, Alcohol/Drug Exposure, Exposure to Mental Illness, Household member going to Prison, Refugee Trauma, Life Threatening Illness, Natural Disasters, Unnatural Disasters and Community Violence. Our client’s response to exposure to these adverse experiences varies and at times includes complex symptoms that include dreams (mostly nightmares), flashbacks, avoiding certain people and places, impaired functioning in school and other social activities, loss of interest in hobbies, anger, irritation, aggression and difficulties managing their emotions. I observe that majority of our female clients display mainly hyper-arousal symptoms as if they are ticking time bombs ready to explode sometimes without being triggered; this response can also be observe in a few males. On the contrary, more male clients can be considered to be in a hypo-arousal state as they often become detached and seems to lack meaning in life and unable to form close bond, especially with their family. One response that I have witness many times among our clients is that of self-harm in the form of cutting, especially when they cannot regulate their emotions.
One contributory experience that was not mentioned (Not sure this may fall under a different category) is a youth finding out that they are adopted. I encountered 2 clients who after finding out at age 12 that they were adopted, started to display extreme uncontrollable behaviour that disrupted their functioning at home and caused them to be placed at the facility.
I see so many ACEs in the students I work with that it’s amazing to me that they actually get to school. I believe that for many of these kids school is the safest place for them to be and the adults there are the only consistent adults they have in their lives. I have students who have been sexually abused, physically abused, are FAS babies, parents were or are in prison for drug abuse, etc. I am trying to work with them in a way that acknowledges their trauma and gives them strategies so they can get through a school day without blowing out and having to go home. Many put on the mask of I don’t care because it’s easier to pretend not to care than to think about what is truly going on. we check in with our students constantly to see how their evening was or how the week-end was. I am noticing an increase in prescription pill and hard alcohol abuse. I have a group of students that party hard every night and come to school not only traumitized but hung over.
I just read the post by Pattymae, and it was only a few hours ago, I wondered too if adoption could cause trauma. I would think that it would, as it would be in one’s constellation (epigenetic).
The youth that I work with have all had significant trauma. Learning how to help them to manage the symptoms they are having is key. This is the first time I heard about the ncDNA.
The majority of the youth I’ve worked with fall into the complex trauma group. Many of these children are impacted by trauma in-utero (prenatally exposed to substances and domestic violence) and continue to encounter ACEs throughout childhood and adolescence. Their exposures lead many of them into the foster care system which adds an additional ACE score. They become highly dysregulated children who experience multiple placement changes. They then begin to experiment with drugs and alcohol to cope with their dysregulation. This often leads to involvement in the Juvenile Justice System. By the time they enter this system of care, it is not uncommon for them to have an ACE score of 8, 9, or. 10.
I see a lot of complex trauma. Youth that present in different combinations with all the factors discussed in this first module. Once in a while also I see school expectations rising to the level of trauma for select youth. Consistent failure on a daily basis definitely impacts youth.
The population of young people that I work with have various experiences and have lived multiple different types of trauma. At the emergency shelter I work at, we have young people who have caregivers who live with mental illness, struggle with addiction, and live in poverty. At the school that I work at, one student in particular stands out to me, though I do not know this students background as much, they present as having insecure attachment.
A lot of what I observe for these young people who have dealt with trauma is seen behaviourally for sure, being physically/ verbally aggressive towards others, anxiety, depression and self injurious behaviour as well. Additionally, the piece about not trusting anyone I see a lot as well, which makes it hard to support at times because then it is difficult to form a trusting relationship.
In my field of work I come into contact with young teens who have several different types of trauma such as neglect, verbal, mental, physical, and sexual abuse. Some of my students struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Many of my students have been exposed to drugs and alcohol at a very young age. Due to the extent of trauma my students have endured their trauma presents itself in explosive and aggressive ways. My students feel as though they are not good enough and therefor do not care about themselves or their consequences. I am looking forward to the next unit!
The children that I work with have experienced a multitude of trauma. The most prevalent with the children currently residing at the house would be divorce/separation, physical neglect, verbal abuse, alcohol/drug exposure, physical abuse, and emotional neglect; roughly in that order, although I believe every one of the ten ACE trauma’s has been experienced by at least one of the residents .
This presents itself very differently in different children. Some are very disruptive and seek out any kind of attention in any way possible. Some are very quiet and reserved and look to avoid any form of attention, even positive. It has frequently been my experience that many of the children I work with respond very negatively when something good happens to them. The intrusion, avoidance, arousal, negative change in cognition or mood cycle is something that really resonated with me from this weeks videos.
I am in Private Practice and see clients of all ages. The majority of my clients have made their way to me after unsuccessful previous attempts at therapy. This is disheartening on so many levels. I work with CSA survivors, Veterans, parents who have lost their children to suicide, adolescents who have experiences extreme bullying, children and teens adopted from orphanages , and many more. Trauma is at the core of all of my clients. Last week I uncovered the root of one of my adolescent clients suicidal ideation. He had tripped on a blanket climbing down the ladder of his bunk bed when he was in third grade and had broken his arm in a way that required surgery. He was teased by his peers when he told them he tripped on a blanket. It was assumed by his school counselor and his mother that the root of his anxiety and lack of focus was his parents divorce. While the divorce added to his struggles it was the trauma of his peers teasing him that altered his nervous system.
My small town and rural high school population registers many of the traditional 10 ACEs as well as the experience of attachment trauma. We are a bit of an island of misfit toys (a descriptor created by a super-senior-which means she’s taken 5 years to graduate). Since this is a new study for me, the material is setting an organized base layer of information.
With my clients I’ve encountered trauma that is related to sexual abuse, life threatening illnesses and early childhood relationships. While working with one client in particular I’ve been wondering if there is sexual trauma that hasn’t been discovered yet since her behaviors and symptoms are similar to conduct disorder. After listening to you talk about the layers of trauma I can see how one’s behaviors depict symptoms of trauma.
I work at a large public high school. I see students who have experienced verbal, physical, sexual abuse. In fact all of the ACE;s are prevalent at my school. We do have student who act out of course but maybe even more that withdraw or shut down. It is often a topic of conversation among staff that we are frustrated, confused and at a loss as how to motivate students. Although students may be able to tell you the importance of school and that graduating is of high importance to them they often do not follow through doing the necessary work. Many of the elements of complex trauma are present for many of our students. Developmental Trauma, Intergenerational Trauma and Historical Trauma are most likely play a part.
As a Child Protection Social Worker, on a daily basis, I interact with many children and youths, who have been violated and experienced many different kind of trauma. Most prevalent among the youths with whom I work are physical and sexual abuse, which we know is very traumatizing to adults, and even more so to adolescents.
Specifically, the youths in my community have experienced at least five or more ACES which can be viewed as complex or multi layered trauma. For example, many of my clients come from single parent homes, headed by their mother, have witnessed and even experienced some type of domestic abuse, and have been victims of physical, sexual and even emotional violence. Thus far, the clients that I have seen have presented with trauma similar to the ones mentioned in this week’s model. Common among my clients is the belief that they cannot trust anyone and that they are in the world alone. I can recall one client stating that she absolutely hated her mother who failed to protect both her from an abusive partner, while another client remarked on how much she loved her stepfather who was in a sexual relationship with her from she was twelve years old.
I work with youth who are recent immigrants from Central America and Mexico, all of whom immigrated to escape poverty and violence. Many of them also experienced trauma in the form of physical or sexual violence and intimidation during their trip to the U.S. Now that they are here, many of them are experiencing the trauma of being separate from one or both parents and siblings, being bullied and intimidated at school or in their neighborhoods, and being exposed to violence and drug or alcohol use in their homes. The symptom I’ve noticed most is students expressing anger that seems unrelated to what’s happening in the present moment or just disproportionate to what is happen.
I was able to picture so many of my former students, as well as my daughter, as I listened to this week’s material. Multiple forms of trauma seems to be the norm rather than the exception in the EBD departments. I have always felt that the students get the label because they are trying desperately to create function under very dysfunctional circumstances. They may find ways to survive in one area of their lives that ultimately fail when they try to generalize the strategy, for example being tough, angry, and distrustful may be totally functional to protect the student in their neighborhood, but fail to produce positive results in school or with family. Also, while listening to the material, I wondered if we would talk about the impact the youths’ environments have on their PTSD and Trauma experience and recovery beyond just the initial traumatic events. In particular, the symptom of distorted self-perception hit home for me because I have met so many girls and women who were told by friends, family, and/or the justice system that they were at fault for their sexual assaults, therefore their feelings of blame and shame are consistent with what they are being told.
Types of trauma: I have seen a lot of sexual abuse victims, and whenever I meet a very angry girl, my go-to thought is whether there is sexual abuse in their background. To date all the girls I know like this have been victimized. I also see a huge amount of family disruption for a variety of reasons such as parental divorce, incarceration or death, or because the family needs to split up to secure housing. There are many children living temporarily with an “aunty” or a grandma. This compounds the educational impact of their other diagnoses, because students often attend, and must adapt to, multiple schools as they move around. As we know, when relationship is key for these students being willing to learn from us, frequent moving can put kids farther behind. (I wonder if having a highly transient childhood has been found to have its own lasting impact that compunds with the one’s discusses this week. Given high number of military kids over the years, I am guessing that its been looked at.)
I have also seen the gamut of PTSD symptoms. One female student is such a textbook example of the things listed under Developmental Trauma Disorder that I felt I was ticking off a list made just for her. Her whole life coud be described as dysregulated. I have seen students who show more internalizing and hypo-arousal symptoms to cope. Sleeping at school is very common for some of our students because 1)they can’t safely sleep at home due to the number of people in the house or parties going on or some kind of excitement, 2)they just never sleep due to the PTSD, or 3) they are just shut down due to either depression or hypo-arousal. I see self-injury quite a bit as well. I have seen quite a bit of malingering in students with trauma in their background too, and I know that it functions as a way for them to avoid school or specific classes or the lunchroom.
In general, I am thoroughly enjoying the material so far. It feels great to be taking a class again!
Oh! One more thought. My former school had a very high number of immigrants from Somalia. I wonder how many of them experienced trauma in the refugee camps and may suffer from PTSD. How much are we missing due to the language and cultural barriers?
As I said in my intro comment, I work with mostly adults in a DUI program. In reflecting on the trauma experienced by the clients I thought immediately of one client who struck and killed a pedestrian with her car. Actually, this could be a type of trauma not mentioned in the course thus far. I suppose that it is possible that the perpetrator could experience trauma symptoms in the form of flashbacks, insomnia, and use of chemicals as a form of Avoidance. We usually only think of the obvious victim, but if the alcoholic feels like a hostage to their addiction, I can see how killing someone would be traumatic.
Since my clients are often alcoholics and/or drug addicts, they also tell tales of domestic violence perpetrated on them by family who also drink. Being in Humboldt County, I also hear about people who have had their marijuana stolen from them, even while they were in the house! I’m sure that makes it hard to relax and could be seen as trauma, possibly causing the victim to wonder if the burglar will sneak back into the house at some point. I get the impression that I am witnessing a lot of Historical trauma, because many of the DUI clients are Native Americans, or “Indians” as they call themselves, and live in the Hoopa reservation. Another thing I see a lot of is adults who were born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and display behavioral defects when forced to do group work.
I work with children and youth who have experienced a variety of types of trauma. Some have been removed from their families, communities, and/or culture; some have lived in refugee camps and have experienced war; some have experienced or witnessed Verbal and/or physical abuse; some have family members who are living with addiction. I also see children and youth who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents and/or who have lost a member of their family or their family member has sustained a serious injury. I have also worked with children and youth who’s family members have attended residential schools and therefore inter-generational trauma is present.
I currently work in special education with special needs students, some of whom have trauma and complex trauma. Last year (for two years) I was working at an inner city charter school in Sacramento which had seriously high number of emotionally disturbed students, students with complex trauma – it was a tough yet rewarding place to work and with my plans to leave special education and for offering mindfulness programs to schools where I now live I will be likely working with a wide range of students in a variety of settings. the odds are many of those will have trauma.
My exposure to trauma stems from working in a multifaceted juvenile rehabilitation facility for youth who have experienced a multitude of trauma; encompassing the ten (10) ACE’s, community violence, repeated exposure to images, early childhood relationships (Attachment) and life threatening illness (which is my recent client). As a result, many if not all the youth in the facility exhibit several complex trauma response, such as, intrusion symptoms: nightmares, memories and flashbacks, concentration issues, loss of interest in hobbies, worldview shifts ( I notice this specifically with the male population at the facility), arousal symptoms ( hyper and hypo-arousal), and inter-generational trauma. I have also observed, a few female clients who have experienced severe sexual trauma would present aggressive sexual behaviors and would make sexual advancement on other female clients within the facility.
Module 1 was very informative as it introduced the multi-layers of trauma experiences and its complex symptoms. I hope as the field expands that bullying and institutionalization can be listed as other experiences leading to trauma as I have seen the adverse effect it has on youth in juvenile facility and in residential care (children’s home). Both bullying and institutionalization has contributed more so to negative disturbances in mood and cognition and hyper-arousal.
1) What types of trauma do you encounter in your work with youth?
I’ve had an opportunity to work with high school students during practicum at a local school on the Navajo Reservation and during that time I’ve had a number of one on one sessions with students.
A majority of at-risk youth whom I’ve worked with on the Navajo Reservation typically came from families who are products of historical trauma.
These adverse patterns in child rearing and parenting styles, stemming from historical trauma, impacted their children with developmental trauma, thus becoming an intergenerational practice throughout many generations. Historical ACE’s resulted in their familial lineage seven generations later, as complex trauma. Many people on the reservation as plagued by this, not just students in today’s school systems.
Most common among students I’ve worked with were: chemical substance use and abuse, truancy, poor self-perception, depression, physical-sexual-verbal-mental abuse, neglect, foster care, suicide ideation or attempts, violence, criminal activity/risky behavior, ever present anger/frustration, racism and low self-esteem.
It’s not hard to see how oppressed people are on the Navajo Reservation. In fact, take one trip off the beaten path to any First Nation/Indigenous reservation, community, or any third world setting and experience the weight of oppression. It’s quite obvious to see the devastating impact of what a dominate oppressive mentally disturbed governing ethnic group can cause to other ethnic groups- oh… just a bit more of maladaptive disturbances to other humans’ enviro-bio-psycho-social well beings.
And sadly, it continues to churn repetitively. Helping professionals are lucky to save at least one out of billions suffering from ACE’s/C-PTSD.
2) Do you work with individuals who present with trauma in ways not mentioned thus far in module/week 1?
Hmm, well, how about fear of the dark? Here on the Navajo reservation, many families live in isolated rural areas, far from towns, and often out in the “boonies.” Some places still have no electricity and/or running water. People are overly cautious these days, especially now because many people are now addicted to meth. So home invasion, robberies, and child abduction is new to the area. Anyhow, along the lines of fear, I’ve met several local community members sharing stories about having constant fear/anxiety. They mentioned that people now lock their doors during the day. It’s because of numerous reports of people seeing Sasquatch near or in the mountains. People also fear skin walkers at night. The other common unseen spook that people fear most is witch-craft. Paranoia of sorts.
I personally think all of this encompasses a negative shift in their mythical worldview(s)…to an extent. It is their worldview, and so it must be.
I am a special education at an urban boarding school. My students have experienced (directly and indirectly) a range of traumatic events and ACEs: poverty, physical violence, drug abuse, insecure attachment, domestic violence, etc. In the classroom, I see trauma manifest as impulsivity, combativeness, affective dysregulation, poor attention, and, at times, physical violence (attacking other students, flipping desks, etc). Many of my students have been diagnosed with ADHD and emotional disturbance and take medication. After watching the videos on PTSD, C-PTSD, and Developmental Trauma Disorder, I beginning to question if ADHD is the most accurate diagnosis for some students who have significant trauma histories.
Working with youth in both a homeless shelter and in therapy has presented the opportunity to work with many presentations believed to be rooted in developmental trauma. For example, there is the young male adolescent whose mother was addicted to opioids and whose father “choked him out”; he now has been formally diagnosed with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder after multiple occurrences of sudden impulsive and aggressive behavior at school. There is the four-year-old who runs from one child to another, striking and yelling at them, until he is taken to his room where he sits and cries. There’s the adolescent female who speaks barely above a whisper, and when you can hear her she is often talking about how much it hurts to be alive, and how much she misses her best friend- her grandfather, who died four years ago. Her parents went through an ugly divorce, and yesterday they found her with scratches all over her face, arms, and legs; she shared she doesn’t remember exactly how they happened. There is no question that these children have been through multiple traumatic experiences and events, and it is disheartening to consider the likelihood of these experiences becoming multi-generational- which they will if no intervention is introduced, and possibly even if one is.
The shelter is a never-ending stream of individuals in crisis. Challenges with mental wellness, domestic violence, and substance abuse have impacted almost every individual there. Cultural trauma is something that is frequently seen, as individuals of color experience not only the trauma inherited, but also the trauma ongoing every day as they watch the news, read the papers, and move through a society that often, even unknowingly, dismisses and marginalizes them. But the kids- the kids will break your heart. They run through the shelter, break toys, destroy items… but when you stop for five minutes to tell them they did a good job, or to thank them for something, or give them a high-five- their eyes have a sparkle for just a moment, then it’s gone again and they’re off to their next act of defiance. You can almost see what they would be life if their dad hadn’t beat up their mom for as long as they can remember, or if their mom just didn’t drink quite as much as she does, or whatever kink fate has placed in their life. Unfortunately you can also see the juvenile court hearings, the foster families, the residential placements that may be in their future.
This is all part of why I’m here, why I’ve chosen this profession. I want to see more sparkles and fewer court hearings.
Working in a substance abuse facility, I often see clients with a variety of ACEs and trauma. Their symptoms manifest in varying ways, as you discussed.
The most common trauma seems to be familial problems with drug and alcohol abuse, community violence, sexual violence in the female population, and physical violence in the male population.
I’ve seen emotional deregulation in the form of violent outbursts, punching walls, screaming, and other variations of anger. I’ve also seen clients that were literally too afraid to get out of bed after a trigger came up. Many of them withdraw and isolate themselves, have negative perspectives about the world, and have severe issues with trust. Their trauma varies widely from client to client, and they express it in just as wide of a range.
Being a substance abuse facility, all of my clients also express avoidance symptoms through use of drugs and/or alcohol. The lifestyle that goes along with addiction puts them in danger of experiencing more trauma. The cycle of trauma and drug use often repeats in their lives several times before they make it to treatment.
I am just now learning about some of the trauma my refugee students have experienced. Many are unaccompanied minors from Central America. I have only heard bits of attacks, threats, daily violence, murdered family members and friends, sometimes whole families at once. Gangs not only rule certain areas or neighborhoods, they control the police, they infiltrate schools, any place that could be deemed safe. And then there is the trauma of the journey here, all the risk and expense involved. The sadness and guilt in many cases of leaving family members behind. The fear and anxiety of arriving here and living with “family” who they may not have seen for years or even ever. And the detention centers here. And the risk of being found out. And the quality of life here, the pressure (for many) to work but the legal obligation to be in school. The language. The loneliness. And the worry of those still at home. So much potential for trauma at so many different points in their journey. I will be reflecting on and looking for these signs of trauma in my students now that I am more aware of them.
When Im teaching a Mindfulness based relapse prevention curriculum at an Adult substance abuse treatment center, I encounter lots of ACE’s for people who are trying to get clean and sober; such as domestic violence, sexual physical and emotional abuse, peers overdosing, losing custody of their children, violence and sexual assault, car accidents, growing up as a child with addicted parents, etc.
As a clinical therapist in private practice, some of my clients have experienced trauma from being sexually assaulted and/or growing up around addiction. One examples include a teen girl experiencing PTSD and severe anxiety due to being emotionally abused by her mom who is an alcoholic and bipolar. Mom texted her on two different occasions asking her to come home from school to save her-when she arrived her mom was trying to hang herself in the garage.
As a school psychologist in an alternative school, many if not all of my students have experienced trauma, most present with symptoms of complex trauma. I work with students who have been identified through the school system as having an Emotional Disability and are often diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and mood disorder OR they are found ineligible for Special Education services because they have diagnoses of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, or Social Maladjustment. Very rarely do I see an outside clinician or psychiatrist diagnose my kids with PTSD, which is very surprising and concerning, and this is the main reason I was interested in taking the course. Many times, due to time constraints and other factors, school evaluation reports don’t address the developmental and family history in great detail. When you take the time to “dig down deep” into the child’s history and discover what they (and their family) have experienced, witnessed, or continue to struggle with, it’s almost always apparent that the effects of trauma are relevant. Many of my students have experienced homelessness and/or extreme poverty; they have witnessed murder; have parents who are addicted and have been significantly neglected as a result; they have been in the foster care system; have been incarcerated in the juvenile justice system; and/or have parents with untreated mental health disorders. In many cases the families of my students do not have the resources to seek outside help, or they are forced to move multiple times for financial reasons, resulting in frequent school changes for the child- and these kids can really fall through the cracks. My biggest challenge is that some of my students only stay with us for a short period of time, so I have made it my goal to document my observations, have meaningful conversations with parents, provide resources when possible, and work with the student as best I can during the time they are with us.
In my work as a juvenile probation officer and guardian ad litem I encounter many types of trauma – child physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment; children who have witnessed domestic violence, have parents who are drug/alcohol abusers or addicts; poverty; children who are living in environments where criminal activity occurs; parents who involve their children in criminal behavior; children taken from parents and placed in foster care; termination of parental rights; parents who are incarcerated; death of youths we work with due to overdose, car crashes, suicide, murder; children/adolescents living with parent(s) with unstable mental health disorders. I supervised a teen boy whose mother was diagnosed bipolar. She made him and his sisters strategically arranged their bedrooms so that they were less likely to be shot during a drive-by shooting even though there was no threat of such an incident occurring.
Running away is a common response for most of these kids – just to get away from the chaos and torment for a minute.
In my work as an alternative education teacher I have worked with many different forms of trauma such as physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, drug/alcohol abuse, poverty, foster care placement, incarceration, death, suicide, mental health, abandonment, gang affiliation, the list goes on.
Many of the students I work with don’t identify as having issues with trauma, however they struggle in school and wonder why they cannot “function as everyone else.” Their past and current surrounds directly impact their ability to learn and function within the high school setting and many of these past issues are surfaced during their high school experience in a way that has not been surfaced to date. I am hopeful to bring greater awareness to trauma and the impact it has on our students. I also am striving to provide a better learning experience for the students that I work with so that they can excel to their fullest potential and achieve their hopes and dreams.
Working with youth in the juvenile justice system, both within detention/rehabilitation facilities, as well as in the community has brought me into contact with youth who have experience all of the 10 original ACE’s as well as several of the other experiences which may lead to trauma. From all that was presented, I the areas that really confirmed what I had been seeing, were the areas of community violence and systemic violence. The vast majority of the adolescent clients that we interface with come from very violent communities, where gang shootings and retaliations are such a regular occurrence. We do our assessments to determine the areas that require the most intensive intervention, and overall we come across so many adolescents, especially males, who do not trust anyone. We see the symptoms of complex trauma in almost all of the adolescents that we work with. For so many of them, their world view shifted from a very early, just growing up and being exposed to violence in their own communities, they can’t even imagine living for very long. They have no goals except trying to survive the here and now and it is definitely an inter generational issue – their parents are/were gang members etc. For our adolescent girls, they grow up in this same environment, very young and sexually active, moving quickly from one partner to the next, but when you look at the history, they were sexually abused, and so were their mothers. All of this just to say that I can definitely see how the historical/inter-generational trauma occurs and re-occurs.
It is not surprising that the ACE research with incarcerated/probation youth indicated that they were 4x more likely to have 4 or more ACE’s. We definitely see it in our teens that we work with. This is why rehabilitation is so challenging with this population. They relapse quite often because of the behavioral and emotional issues that surface. Like other participants in this course, I do think bullying has many adverse effects because it encompasses various forms of abuse and can lead to trauma. I am especially interested in learning more about children who have been institutionalized for significant periods of time, as I am sure that had adverse effects as well, that adds to the trauma already experienced.
As a victim advocate for a domestic violence and sexual assault center I work with a lot of youth who have witnessed DV and those who have been sexually abused or raped. I tend to be one of the first responders with law enforcement when DV or SA is reported. I then do follow-up services like peer counseling and advocate for law enforcement and the criminal justice system. I know my roles as an advocate to the survivors, but I’m not a mental health provider. Being new to working with youth, exploring multi-layered, generational, and historical trauma has broaden my awareness greatly. I can’t wait to get my hands on the book recommendations. One book that I have really enjoyed is Brian F. Martin’s Invincible- The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up With DV, and the Truths To Set You Free. It has really provided insight on what is like from the child’s perspective and how it continues to follow the survivor around.
I work in high school settings with students many of whom have experienced/are experiencing a variety of the traumas/ACEs covered in Module 1 (and for many of them more than one). To the point of the presentation, the way these ACEs are then interpreted and manifested as various symptoms in my students vary widely. Many demonstrate incredible resiliency. Some are unaware that they have even experienced a “traumatic” event at all (to the point of intergenerational trauma, and also what has become normalized around them). For those who I work with who have significantly more ACEs than their peers, I’ve noticed it is increasingly harder for them to recover, and many of them, even at a young age, have health complications, exhibit depression, and some have been involved in the juvenile justice system. Additionally, these kids who need the MOST support are often the ones that systems (schools, community, etc.) are least equipped to provide resources to and end up punitively disciplining the most often.
I have never worked with adult populations, therefore my knowledge of how childhood trauma can affect adulthood and its longterm effects are very limited. Because of this, I was able to learn a lot of new information through this module. The youth I have worked with range from youth diagnosed with a mental illness and developmental delays, as well as incarcerated youth. Many of the ACEs mentioned are present in all of the youth I work with. What is tough is knowing if they were diagnosed correctly, just as the video says. Due to the DSM definition, many of the symptoms you may see can be a reaction to complex trauma, rather than anxiety or ADHD diagnoses. This is where the challenge lies because without a proper diagnosis, the youth may be triggered more easily, not understand the reasons behind some of their actions (outbursts), and professionals may be triggering youth unintentionally.
Negative childhood experiences were very common when reading case files of the youth I’ve worked with in custody. The link between trauma/ ACEs and youth delinquency is ever apparent in this setting.
I think something that was not brought up that is very important is understanding how trauma can affect you differently at every stage of your life. I have worked with a youth with severe developmental delays and behavioural problems that arose from being abandoned in a orphanage in Eastern Europe. He was found at the age of 4, with none of his basic needs being met. Understanding the stages of development is important here because we know from the ages of 1-4, there is more of an importance laid on things like attachment, care, love, etc. When basic needs like food, bathroom, and clothing are not met at such a young age, this puts the child at a greater risk of not developing empathy, emotional regulation, the ability to foster positive relationships, among many other physical problems. It is important to then know how trauma can affect someone’s development if they experience it at age 8-12, or 14-19, etc. At each stage of your life, your brain develops in different areas — so what are the effects of trauma at each stage?
As a family support worker I go into homes of families already involved with CPS. A majority of my cases initially are referred based on physical abuse (corporal punishment). Once I start building rapport it is like peeling an onion. There are layers to these parents, many who are trying to deal with their trauma but haven’t gotten the support they needed so they are trying to manage their mental health, chemical dependency, some have physical ailments that have manifested stemming from the stress of their long term trauma.
Unfortunately, I have to help them realize their trauma is now impacting their child and caused them trauma so that the family can begin to heal.
I work in an inner city public school with a diverse student population, and it’s a Title 1 school. In addition to encountering Adverse Childhood Experiences, I think there may be other experiences such as Systemic Violence and Early Childhood Relationships. I can’t think of any student in my classes that has developed trauma in ways not mentioned in week 1 module.
I work with children who are in foster care or have been taken from their parents by the state. Many of them have been physically or sexually abused and neglected. Many of the parents are drug addicts and in prison. Most of these children have trust issues and fear abandonment. It is stressful for me when parents don’t do what they need to do to get their children back and you have to look at that heartbroken child’s face. At the end of the day, they love their parents.
This was a helpful overview of what trauma could be for many different people coming from a vast array of experiences. With the youth I am encounter regularly, I see a lot of the ACE’s as signs of trauma. Some that stood out to me were potential emotional and physical neglect, early childhood relational or attachment issues, verbal abuse, and coming from households with parents(and other family members) who are absent and/or in prison.
The “expanded” definitions are definitely helpful in gaining a better understanding in what trauma could look like and how people are affected.
So glad to be taking this course to refresh my thinking in my approach to the students I work with. To be mindful of their backgrounds and the far reaching impact it has on them is paramount to my success, and theirs. Most of from systemic poverty, affected by abuse and neglect. Looking forward to the upcoming sessions.
I originally took this course to better understand one of my students who is presenting with attachment difficulties. Week one has me looking through a trauma lens at her behaviors and am excited to learn more regarding learning better ways to support her in the school environment. The information in this first week has also opened my eyes to other students on my campus and the layers of trauma that they have experienced and many ways they can present within the classroom. I am looking forward to learning more in the upcoming weeks.
A lot of clients I’ve worked with have experienced trauma via the following: verbal, physical & sexual abuse, human trafficking, emotional, physical neglect & abandonment, divorce/separation, DV, Alcohol/Drug exposure and also via their parents/guardians, household member going to prison, family violence, refugee trauma, natural disasters, community/street/gang violence. A lot of the children and youth I have worked with and continue to work with are continually being exposed / triggered by friends, at home, or at school. It is heartbreaking to encounter a child / youth that has experienced so much in such a short time. My hope is that this Trauma Informed Care course will help me so that I can provide better services for my clients.
I work in a high trauma, lower socio-economic population. I often see children with complex trauma misdiagnosed at an early age with autism that is, in fact, a set of developmental delays and coping behaviors related to their survival needs in a long-term (often from birth) reaction to severe neglect and trauma. I’m LMFT and a school psychologist working in the public school setting. Currently the concept of trauma as an informed way of looking at behavior is in the infant stages in the County where I work. It is encouraging to see this movement expanding and hopefully the interventions and ways of responding to these traumatized youth will become incorporated into the Multi-Tiered Support System (used to be called RTI) of interventions that is also in the early stages of intervention in this part of the country. The old way of viewing Emotional Disturbance in children that was an either/or viewpoint that attempted to define one child’s behaviors as “emotionally disturbed” and another’s as “conduct disordered” with funds allocated accordingly, will be replaced with interventions that are trauma informed. Behavior as communication is a concept that has been around for a long time. The trauma piece of the puzzle, along with newer neuroscience information that leads to a more comprehensive understanding of early attachment and other developmental issues, will hopefully shift the cultures in schools and mental health.
I work in a county wtih a higher number of ACE scores than most counties in the nation. I have students that have symptoms of complex trauma and many families have experienced intergenerational trauma as well as historical trauma. I have many students that display a number of externalizing and internalizing behaviors due to this trauma. I have also noticed the increase in doctors in the area diagnosing children with ADHD who have experienced trauma and/or have been drug exposed in utero. I also have many families who experience homelessness. While many are in doubled up situations or couch surfing, others live in cars or tents. My students often do not get proper meals when they are not at school.
One of the most common ACEs that I see in my work with high school students is the pervasive sense of not feeling loved or included by their families. I think this is sometimes because their parents also had this experience in their own childhoods. With my deaf students, they feel this very profoundly if their family members have not learned ASL. Many of the students also have family that have substance abuse issues. Some of the students have experienced the death of a family member- one student had a family member commit suicide last month. Another student witnessed his father assaulting his mother and he ran from the home thinking his mother had been killed. Since our recent elections, we have also seen additional stress in our students that are either DACA students or have family members that are not here legally. There have been triggers when comments have been made by adults and students that are insensitive to these students worries. Each individual student has their own story, it is something that we strive to do everyday- not judge a student and their family- there is always something behind the behaviors and the acting out.
We work with youth who are involved in the juvenile justice system and the majority of them have some form of trauma. Most of the kids we work with also have mental illnesses including PTSD that stem from that trauma. I also personally am a foster parent. I have adopted my youngest sister who has 9 of the 10 ACE’s and has severe trauma from those. This first week was enlightening to say the least.
I have worked with teens and adults so far in my career that have had some sort of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. It is a slow process with these individuals and when they are ready to talk they will. I have never pushed an individual to express anything about their trauma until they are ready, and I think that establishes trust in the therapeutic relationship.
In my private psychology practice, I do not see many clients who have experienced trauma. In the public schools where I teach mindfulness, however, there is a lot of trauma. Dysregulation is frequent, as well as behavioral referrals at school. Several of the teens I work with talk about parents who are not able to make good choices, which negatively and significantly affects the teens.
As a teacher, I have seen all of it . . .and it is tremendously challenging.
I have worked with students who have gone through a trauma or suspected trauma. This trauma, like mentioned in the videos, leads them to have emotional or behavioral issues. Some of the students I work with have been emotionally neglected, have been through a nasty divorce or have exposure to drug/alcohol.
I agree with expanding the term trauma as the intricacies and events of an individual’s life gives rise to a broad range of symptoms and behaviors. Historical and inter generational trauma is very interesting to me as I have seen it but have not recognized it as such until now. This gives rise to the importance of working also on a macro level to help address many cultural issues which perpetuates trauma and gives rise to continued developmental trauma and complex trauma. In a sense it to help break the cycle of trauma passed down where possible.
As a special ed educator working in a high school, I see students with an array of trauma. A majority of the trauma has been the result of ACEs. Often times, the students have experienced or are currently experiencing at least three ACEs. I would say the most common ACE’s that I see are: Verbal & Physical Abuse, Emotional & Physical Neglect, Alcohol/Drug Exposure, Exposure to Mental Illness/Suicide Household member, and above all else Divorce or Separation of parents. They become easily agitated with other students and teachers. shut down, use substances. and are unable to focus on school work. Or just don’t come to school.
I am often frustrated because it is so difficult for the students to put aside these traumas and focus on school work; which is not realistic for some of these emotions are just overwhelming for a super human to handle let alone a child. I’m always looking for more understanding and tools to use in helping these people recover.
It is so very sad to know that the students I am fortunate enough to work with every day have experienced extreme trauma on every level including physical, mental, emotional, and sexual. They deal with these traumas through the use of drugs, depression, physical aggression, solitude, property destruction, mimicking negative events that they have been victims of, and a wide array of other behaviors. It is unfortunate that the traumas they have been subject to often have a “Monkey See, Monkey Do” effect. Helping these young people learn that not all monkeys do what they have seen or experienced is so important so they can be the first generation of “Monkey Don’ts”
I work directly with children that have experienced trauma and are also re-traumatized by having to leave their homes to stay in a
I work in the schools and in an area with a high drug population. I do see kids that have extreme high ACE scores and in result have significant behavioral issues in the classroom.
In my line of work with group homes, institutions and trafficking victims. I can recall different persons that present with all the symptoms described. The persons that live in these residential facilities are in care as a result of direct experiences such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect, drug exposure and exposure to mental illness. Some of these children before the age of ten have had four or more adverse childhood experiences. Lesson one has given me insight and the language to explain the symptoms of PTSD. The young people display intrusion symptoms such as recurring dreams of the traumatic event that cause them to be in care. I see the hyper arousal symptom where the person is angry for no apparent reason to the caregiver but is dealing with their own issues of loss and feelings of guilt and something in the environment triggered that child. Many of our residents suffer from complex PTSD, developmental trauma disorder and the historical inter generational trauma. We see children in care who had parents or other family members that were in residential care and the cycle was never broken.
One case that stands out to me is a young woman who went through all levels of care foster care , child care institution, and a juvenile facility ended up running from that facility to show up a couple years later been beaten and now only communicates by laughing or saying yes and has to be told when to eat, when to use the toilet and needs 24 hour care. Can she ever recover?
In my work, I most often encounter young women who have experienced emotional and/or physical neglect, divorce, exposure to substances and to mental illness. I was most surprised to learn about community trauma because I was unfamiliar with that concept and term before. I think that environmental trauma and community trauma have significantly impacted the students and school community.
I work as a high school teacher of “mainstream” kids and “newcomer” refugees from Central America. I have to say that I have adolescents who present every type of traumatic experience mentioned, as well as an array of complex traumas. My difficulty is that I have so many students, I usually do not get to know the specific histories of each student, but I do witness daily how such traumas play out in the classroom, in social relationships with peers, and with me, as an authority figure, as well as with other adults on campus. I try to work on ways for the students to create positive communities of support with each other, but there are many barriers to my success, starting with who I am and what I represent in their lives, as a person who evaluates them in their Spanish or English acquisition. There are socio-cultural linguistic triggers that play into this relationship that are hard to go beyond. There are confidence busters playing out in the minds of many of my Latino students raised in the U.S. of family members telling them that their Spanish is not the “correct” Spanish. They often have a history of being the English language learner from an early age, receiving negative academic feedback about their English. My mainstream Spanish learners can be terrified of language learning – fear of making mistakes, fear of speaking to Spanish fluent peers, fear of not understanding and not being understood, etc. And my refugees from Central America often carry a societal shame of speaking an Indigenous Mayan language, or being told that they do not speak Spanish well in their own country before even arriving in the U.S. where they feel terrified of the new country and the new language, and are not voluntary immigrants. These are some of the added complexities I deal with daily in my lesson planning and inculcation of cultural and linguistic pride. The other layers of trauma are there, in every type of student I teach, but I feel it’s beyond my function as a teacher to fully grapple with.
I work with adolescent boys who have suffered neglect from their parents, (particularly mothers), are physically abused, and emotionally abused. I found it interesting when it was mentioned that sometimes trauma is mistaken for other disorders. I presented at a case conference recently with a diagnosis of ADHD that after spending more time with the client and having discussions with the administrator of the center, now looks more like trauma. Sometimes obtaining adequate information takes time and a relationship with the client. The population I work with lack parental support and this compounds the issue of stimulating change.
I work in home with children 2-3 years old and also in the school system with children 3-15 years old. The elementary school I work in has a very low socioeconomics population. We see lots of behaviors that impede the kiddos’ learning. The underlying issues need to be dealt with before they are even ready to learn. Fortunately, the principal at the elementary school I work at ‘gets’ it and had a short training on trauma and its effects on kids learning that she had everyone attend, including janitors, cafeteria workers, etc.
In my work as a therapist, I’ve observed most of the symptoms discussed. The descriptions of hypo-arousal were good reminders for me as I actually had a client come to mind. The adolescents I serve are either home schooled or attending a school that perpetuates violence. Bullying by students and staff members is a long-standing problem. The school has agreed to allow my department to train staff on trauma-informed and restorative practices. This material is really bolstering my knowledge.
Our team works with adolasance that suffer with depression, anxiety, PTSD, ODD, ect. Although all most of these kiddos have suffered some type of trauma, they still have great personalities and positive outlook that make myself happy to be a role model for them.
As a teacher in an area of socio-economic disadvantage I work with many students who I think have suffered trauma – eg. drgu addicted parents, loss of a parent/both parents. My work brings me into contact with the students who are struggling to succeed in the classroom because of difficult and challenging behaviour.
Teaching mindfulness in schools I have a very limited time with students, K-5 only 15 minutes twice a week for two months and with older students just 1 hour once a week. Trauma presents itself differently in different classes and with different students. I’m aware that mindfulness can make people aware of trauma that they weren’t aware of before. Also teaching mindfulness to educators can also have its fair share of trauma emerge too. Last week one educator, literally as soon as they took one mindful breath it was so painful and uncomfortable all over their body that they had to stop and were distressed.
Also in my training in Mindfulness Centered Somatic Psychotherapy (Hakomi Institute) I’m working with people 1-on-1 to resolve trauma and limiting core beliefs.
Hi there. I cannot think of any trauma showing up in ways not yet discussed via the training. Some examples of behaviors from kids I have worked with who may have experienced trauma include a kid kicking over a chair, a young boy falling backwards from a seated floor position when he heard a big bang because it sounded like a gun, a child crying and pouting repeatedly because his mom was in jail and he kept thinking she was coming home but she did’t come home.
I have worked with children and adolescents for the last 13 years. I have observed them being affected by many circumstances. I am glad that training expanded the factors that might contribute to PTSD as I have seen how poverty, violence in the community, racism, immigration status, deportations, discrimination, profiling and substance use cause great suffering. Other factor that I was please it was presented is attachment. Most of the youth that I work with struggle with attachment issues due to a parent dying, parents or care givers struggling with substances, or caregivers not present for other reasons. Many of my clients have been traumatized by these circumstances and many start using substances at very early age to numb or sooth their feelings.
I am working with Children 0 – 18 years who came into the Child Protection system as a result of Child Abuse.I have definitely seen children and families who are victims of Adverse Childhood Experiences, PTSD as well as Complex PTSD. This first unit as broaden my scope of identifying and understanding what clients are experiencing and note that some behaviors are as a result of the repeated trauma one has been experiencing. I am now in a better position when coaching Social workers of signs and behaviors they should look for as well as their approach when trying to investigate a report of such abuses. It was also interesting to learn that there is Inter-generational and Historical Trauma that also may play a major role in a child’s life that was never factored into the outcome of an Allege report of Child abuse.
Working with priviledged kids can sometimes make you assume that these kids are or were exposed to less traumatic childhoods. I find this to be untrue just be observing some of the symptoms mentioned in the behavioral part of trauma, such as withdrawal or enhanced anger states.
Many of these kids experience verbal abuse by their parents, sometimes in a more subtle or implicit way but still equal in damage. The pressures to be perfect, maintain the image their parents want them to perpetrate evolves in verbal abuse. Sometimes these parents are neglecting their kids emotionally by turning them into products instead of persons by the expectations they have of them.
While teaching mindfulness I have also observed the incapability of some of the students to self regulate, or even to want to have their eyes closed for some of the sessions. Panic and anxiety attacks are also indicators in the community I work with.
I currently work with kids and adults with special needs. There are a lot of participants who have experienced complex trauma.
Working in a comprehensive high school in a large urban district I work with students who are dealing with complex trauma. Philadelphia has one of the highest poverty rates of any large city in the nation. We have high rates of family displacement, separation and incarceration, foster care placement, educational disability, and mental/behavioral health needs. Unfortunately access to behavioral health supports, transitional housing are very limited. I often encounter students who are struggling with family stressors that include family displacement, tragic loss of family members, kinship care/parental separation. I also have students who live in shelters. Many of my students need someone to listen, assist them in accessing community supports, developing mindfulness, and the skills needed to persevere. Because of their situations they also need assistance planning for their long term outcomes.
Within the shelter I work at I see youth that have lived several types of trauma including exposure to violence, exposure to drugs and alcohol, living with a guardian that has mental health issues, multiple cases of neglect and psychological abuse. Many of the residents passing through the shelter have also experienced intergenerational and historical trauma as well as community trauma. Many of the youth that come to stay in the shelter have experiences with single event traumas while others have experienced complex trauma.
The behaviors I observed cover a wide range of the symptoms we looked at in this unit- avoidance is a one that really stands out to me. Whether that be avoiding their feelings or thoughts or avoiding conversations and certain people that might be triggering to them. A lot of the youth also have symptoms of an insecure attachment and often express physical and verbal aggression, high levels of anxiety and some self harming behaviors. Many of the younger children children at the shelter also demonstrate difficulty self regulating themselves.
As mentioned in the introduction, I work in a locked level-14 residential facility for adolescents, which all come with complex trauma. It’s unfortunate that the clients we get are born with trauma and continue to experience it throughout childhood and adolescents, and will probably continue to through their adulthood. Our kids come with backgrounds of environmental, sexual, emotional, sexual exploitation, etc, trauma/abuse. Many have been in the system since the day they’re born. As a result, we have a lot that come with maladaptive coping skills such as, substance abuse, self-harm, in-bedding, head-banging, etc. Although, many are hopeless they fail to see how resilient they are if they have been able to make it this far in their short lives, given their circumstances.
In my field of work we deal with children-youths are neglected/abandoned, abused physically, emotionally or verbally. They all come with some form of trauma and depending on their age it may be for an extended period of years.While some are short term or longterm with use of the Adverse Childhood Experience it helps in understanding some of the behaviors i have observed. Some of these clients when they need to be removed and are placed in an institution or foster home become very rebellious or often test boundaries this is mainly most often because they may have lacked structure, do not trust individuals or may just be doubtful on the caregivers commitment to helping them. Working with all different ages they come with so many forms of trauma and often times we don’t know where it stems from. It was very much interesting that you touch on historical and inter-generational trauma as oftentimes individual take on the trauma of others or family members. I appreciate that you spoke of trauma, PTSD, Complex PTSD seperately.
Within my work, I work with adolescents and young adults who have experienced various forms of trauma. The primary reason they are in the facility is due to drug and alcohol use. This category of behaviors brings out multiple traumatic experiences in and of itself; however, the clients typically enter treatment not identifying that they have witnessed trauma as a result of involvement with substance use/addiction. Many of the clients I work with have experienced a variety of traumatic experiences during childhood, during a time in their lives when they were learning ways to express themselves and explore who they are. This section was beneficial to me as it covered the philosophy and content behind the traumatic experiences that the clients’ I work with have experienced.
I have worked with students who have experienced all kinds of trauma, from those fleeing war-torn countries to populations who have lived here for their entire lives in unsafe communities with food insecurity and incarcerated care providers. Many of them definitely have encountered 4+ ACES, and the impact is apparent and significant.
In terms of how it manifests, similar to Gina, I work with students who struggle to participate in mindfulness exercises that require focused attention and eyes closed. Some of them express discomfort with body-based practices. They will opt to color or journal instead.
I have worked with youth in incarceration settings, where there is clearly historical, intergenerational, community, and complex trauma all together. I’ve worked with undocumented youth, fleeing violence in other countries, who are presenting with community and complex trauma. As you’ve pointed out, often trauma is multi-layered and complex, arising from a variety of causal factors, and often hasn’t stopped, or is on-going. I’m interested in how to support young people dealing with the trauma of poverty, with racism, with living in dangerous communities, these kinds of on-going traumatic stressors that aren’t in the past, as well as more traditional forms of trauma, like abuse, or neglect.
I’m currently working with high school teachers from a very rough area of Mexico City as well as with the police department. So, it’s not my direct experience with trauma, but rather with those who are in constant contact with traumatized youth. However, I’ve worked as a volunteer at juvenile facilities with the Mindfulness Without Borders program. My experience was that these young men, who had experienced many forms of ACEs, were never able to fully open and share their experiences in a group because of the fear of being bullied or because they were not used to be cared for. It was only on one to one sessions that they were able to relax and open.
In the near future, I might be working at a shelter for homeless children where they’re receiving deported children from the US who have no family in Mexico.
This shelter is in the southernmost city of Mexico, in the border with Guatemala, and the youth have to leave the shelter when they turn 18.
This children have been victims of severe abuse as well as many forms of ACEs. They are in danger of joining the organized crime once they are back in the street. This becomes a vicious cycle which is tearing apart the social tissue in my country. It is imperative that these children be able to heal their wounds before they are released from the shelter in order to stop this cycle of violence.
I’ve read that many of you are working with the immigrant community in the US. I would greatly appreciate if you could share your contact info so that I could ask for your advice if I need it.
I currently work in an outpatient Occupational Therapy clinic. Children come to me with a variety of diagnoses from Autism Spectrum, to ADHD, sensory processing difficulties, Anxiety, etc. I have seen a couple of children with a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder. Particularly for the kids I see with “behavioral problems” or mood disturbances, I try to check for trauma histories. I have found that many of the kids I work with have some sort of trauma in their past. I also have multiple kids who have been bounced around in foster care. Some have been kicked out of KINDERGARDEN!!! due to aggressive behaviors, yet I’m not seeing any reference to the impact of trauma in their charts. Or they are seeing psychologists/psychiatrists and being treated for the symptom (mood disturbances, aggression, poor concentration, etc) but not for the cause.
I find it often takes time to build a rapport with these kids, due to their distrust of others. I also find that it can be hard to find psychologists and counselors who are experienced working with kids with low IQ or other issues AND trauma. They either specialize in ABA type therapy for kids with Autism, OR in trauma therapy for typically developing kids. We desperately need professionals who can work with kids with autism from a trauma informed approach, who can work with kids with low IQ, or non verbal kids who have also experienced trauma.
I also appreciate that you brought up life threatening illness, though I might add chronic illness trauma with all of the procedures and hospitalizations, etc that can come with developmental disorders that are not immediately life threatening.
I work with students that have experienced the following: verbal, physical, and sexual abuse; emotional and physical neglect; divorce or separation; domestic violence; alcohol/drug exposure; exposure to mental illness, household member in prison, refugee trauma, life threatening illness, motor vehicle accidents, community violence, repeated exposure to trauma details (teachers and other professionals I work with), relational trauma, systemic trauma, and complex trauma.
I think that often one thing trauma that is missed but related to divorce/separation is absence of a parent. Frequently, the students that I work with have had to rely on one parent and that presents with a trauma that I have not seen addressed. For example, when working with some of my students, they may not have ever known one of their parents and this leaves them with a form of trauma; and also the male students that are treated like men from a very early age, which puts undue trauma on them as “head of the household” during a time when they should just be focused on being a being a child.
Listening to the presentation, I was reminded of how much trauma is overlooked in the schools where I provide services. Not only are the children traumatized, but the teachers and school personnel are frequently traumatized as well. I found all of the information extremely informative! I loved the way that you pulled together so many different research perspectives!!
I work with LGBTQ+ youth and appreciated your piece on systemic oppression and minority trauma and hoped to hear a little more about this invisible minority group. I also work with youth who have experienced sexual abuse and complex trauma due to intersecionalities.
I work as a school counselor in Humboldt County. Children and adolescents in Humboldt County scored the highest ACE scores in California. I work with children and families who experience mental illness, substance abuse, a parent in prison, a parent who is MIA, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, homelessnes, poverty, historical trauma, complex trauma…I have worked with several students who are living on their own with no parent and students who are standing in as a parent because their parent may suffer from addiciton or mental ilness.
I am working with some youths and some adults who have experience various types of trauma. The presentations were really informative. Although it is a work that is in progress I like the revised trauma definition.
The kids I primarily work with are clustered int eh Development Trauma Disorder area. We actually did give them the ACES questions to be answered anonymously and then had them identified which group they were in, 1-3, 4-7 (almost all), 7-10 (none in this sample). Since we’re not doing therapy, we then looked at how they felt being in that group. Most were surprised to see that so many others had also had traumatic experiences.
I work with adolescent males that have a range of traumatic experiences, typically where they have been sexually abused in some way as they continue to cycle and abuse someone themselves. This population also endures other stressors including neglect and abandonment. I scored a 1, possibly 2 of the ACEs sheet.
In my line of work I see a lot of migrant families that have experienced a lot of trauma in the countries they came from. Currently migrant families are re-experiencing trauma due to fear and exposure to involuntary deportation.
I am currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working in an Alternative High School in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Students I see on a regular basis struggle more with Complex PTSD/Complex Trauma, however there is such a family system of trauma and dysfunction, in their immediate families, in their play families, just in their culture, that Intergenerational Trauma plays a huge part in their make up as individuals, it is very hard to separate out the lesser of the two. There is such an atmosphere of poveety, abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, mental health issues, and the school district as a whole is unequipped to meet these needs.
I love these students, beneath this trauma are amazing, resilient, beautiful humans.
The school district forgets that they are actual people, not just a number or a statistic.
As a Wraparound Facilitator, I work with high needs children from ages 6-18, and many of them have experienced complex trauma. Sexual abuse, exposure to drug & alcohol addiction, and physical abuse seem to be the most prevalent. Also, parents seem to have a difficult time understanding (or accepting) the long term effects of trauma on their children. For instance, a tween who was abused (emotionally & physically along with suspected sexual abuse) by her bio dad has a stepfather who can’t understand why she either cowers or becomes physically aggressive if he raises his voice too loud when he’s upset with her. His consistent argument is that he has never been abusive to her or her siblings, & she hasn’t been in that environment for several years, so she “needs to get over it”.
I work with a lot of juveniles, who have experienced at least 3 ACES if not more. The majority of them seem to have significant trauma in their lives. My challenge is only getting to work with them for a short time.
As a clinical psychologist who has worked in mental health, care and protection, and youth forensic services, the trauma I work with is vast. The young people I have worked with have generally experienced multiple forms of trauma, come from backgrounds that have inter-generational and historical complex trauma, and have often had early developmental trauma as well. On top of that, and issue I often encounter with the people I work with, is that they have often experienced trauma as a result of the way they have been treated in the various services set up to care for them (e.g. foster care, institutionalized care, in the education system, and within the mental health services that they come in contact with). They have often experienced high degrees of invalidation and shaming when they have come in to contact with services and are often labelled, blamed and further victimized by the very people meant to be helping them.
I work with school-age children and they present with various symptoms due to trauma they have experienced at home or in their communities. Some of the older children talk about community violence such as robbery or home invasions, which often create anxiety and fear for the child and their families. Some of the younger children are physically disciplined that may be used when their parents are stressed and some children experience emotional abuse such as name calling, shaming, and blaming of the child for household issues. A large proportion of the children on my caseload are dealing with domestic violence. Some of the children’s fathers are out of the home and this creates a financial burden for the mothers who have to now provide for their families. Some of the older children who have experienced domestic violence now engage in risky and defiant behaviors at school and with their parents.
I work with fairly high functioning high school and college students who are dealing with stress and anxiety–some associated with situational/episodic trauma and others developmental trauma. Many are traumatized by bullying and and witnessing mental instability in their households.
I am a middle school special education teacher, who works with many students who are labeled as SLD (learning disabled), although they present with a lot of social/emotional/behavioral issues. After hearing their stories and backgrounds, I believe that they have experienced chronic, multi-layered trauma that has not been addressed in the school system.
Most of my work experience thus far has been with children ages 18 months to 5 years. It is very evident as to which children get yelled at for example. Even at this young age the children with ACE’s is very easy to pick out.
I work in an urban area in Washington, DC at a charter school for students in middle school and high school. Most of our students come from unstable home lives including lack of job stability, parental neglect, community violence, drug use, domestic violence, verbal and physical abuse, sexual abuse, exposure to untreated mental illness, and household members in prison. Many of our students do not a stable family system, so they rely on close relatives, friends, and classmates to create supportive networks; unfortunately due to continuous issues within each of these self created systems, our students never form positive attachments and have trust issues. As the school psychologist working with these students I often see disorganized attachment styles and a lack of insight into previous experienced trauma as negative experiences. Additionally, I see many students suffering from emotional and behavioral dysregulation due to trauma. Our Student Support Team is trying to help make the school and our community more aware of the effects of trauma by hosting PD for staff and parents regarding the impact of trauma of behavior, emotions, academics, and attachments.
I work with youth who are accused of committing crimes; the majority of the youth I encounter have experienced several, if not all, of the ACEs. At times, the crimes themselves are a manifestation of trauma. Most of our youth who commit violent crimes (including murder) have been victimized (physical/sexual abuse and neglect) themselves. The same is true for many of the youth who have received drug charges; their substance abuse is very much motivated by the trauma they have endured. If the crime itself is not motivated by or directly related to trauma, it is often indirectly related or a complicating factor in case management and supervision. I have many youth who have been diagnosed with PTSD – many of these youth consistently run from their placement or homes when triggered. I have one individual who, through lots of therapeutic intervention, no longer runs every time he is triggered. Instead of fleeing, he now fights…it has resulted in property damage and bodily harm to his guardian. But it’s a step in the right direction. Many, many of my youth present with detachment; I cannot even count how many times I have been told “I don’t give a fuck.” I see a lot of inability to experience positive emotions; a lot of times, when I ask my youth if they can remember the last time they were happy, they tell me no. I work in a predominately white area, so I do not encounter a lot of historical trauma but I do see a lot of intergenerational trauma.
I’ve worked with youth who have been traumatized by experiencing severe child abuse throughout their adolescence. Also, I’ve worked with youth who have felt emotional neglect, abandonment, and those who have been removed form the homes of their primary caregivers as a result of the abuse they’ve experienced throughout adolescence.
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