How Trauma Can Create Barriers to Students Engagement, Need for Trauma-Sensitive Schools

WestEd Published Articles

Article: How Trauma Can Create Barriers to Students’ Engagement and the Need for Trauma-Sensitive Schools 

Publication: National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Newsletter

Publisher: National Dropout Prevention Center/Network

Publication Date: 2016 (Volume 26, Issue 2)

Related WestEd Author: Julie Nicholson

Related WestEd Program: Center for Child & Family Studies

Excerpt From Article Co-Authored by WestEd’s Julie Nicholson:

“Evidence shows early trauma negatively impacts children’s physiology and brain development. It can impair social, emotional, and cognitive capacities, including symbolic thought, language, memory, attention, and executive functioning which undermines self-regulated learning.

Children… who experienced relational trauma from the early loss of significant attachment relationships, often struggle with classroom demands. They are neurobiologically focused on survival and have neural wiring that is hypervigilant to perceived environmental threats. Their hypervigilance and frequent defense behaviors can interrupt their classroom performance when they are required to concentrate for long periods of time.

Using a trauma-sensitive lens, educators can enhance children’s ability to heal at school by offering frequent reassurances of their safety and by providing them with consistent and predictable routines throughout the day.”

Visit the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Newsletter page to read the full article.

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