Childhood trauma can emotionally scar your child for life, which needs to be diagnosed and treated timely. However, we often neglect the episodes that can constitute trauma in a child. For years, childhood trauma is never given much importance in schools. But now, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the surgeon general of California, is launching a plan to implement students’ screening for childhood trauma. The program’s primary purpose is to address children living traumatized with rough past experiences and help them deal with trauma. Though numerous steps have been taken before implementing this plan, the program’s cost always remained in question. And now, finally, childhood trauma has given emphasis and a proper budget to implement.
The National Institute of Mental Health also stated that childhood trauma can be mentally and emotionally stressful and can have a lasting impact on your physical health. In the State’s Medicaid Program, the plan was pushed to implement children’s screening for Dr. Harris’s trauma. The U.S government also approved a budget of $45 million in June for trauma screening and $50 million for training purposes. The plan is of massive undertaking as it is for universal screening for trauma. However, all these plans are still underway.
Many premature deaths and diseases can be prevented if all countries focus on childhood trauma and undergo developmental screening. After considering childhood trauma screening as an urgent public health crisis, it is sure that children’s mental health is eventually being taken seriously. Let’s discuss more about childhood trauma and the program to be implemented in-depth:
Possible Reasons Behind Childhood Trauma
A study was carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA in the midst of 1990, which looked closely into the connection between childhood trauma and social and health problems in childhood. In epidemiological research, the Adverse Childhood Experience Study is regarded as a landmark and informs the survey status in therapy and childhood trauma research. According to this study, there are ten possible reasons for childhood trauma which your child is prone to encounter. The consequences of these encounters can be devastating and have a long-lasting effect on your child’s life.
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- Living with a guardian/parent who is an alcoholic or drug addict.
- Growing up with a caregiver/parent/guardian with criminal records.
- Witnessing parents or grandparents deal with depression or with other mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
- Growing up with parents where the father physically abuses the mother.
- Experiencing substance and emotional abuse during childhood.
- Experiencing sexual abuse in childhood from parents or other elder siblings.
- Growing in an environment of physical abuse in the home or school.
- Losing a parent, grandparent, or caregiver to death or separation.
- Living with a parent who doesn’t pay much attention and feeling emotional neglect.
- When children are not properly clothed or fed, they feel physical neglect and can be a possible cause of trauma.
Many children experience these circumstances or situations, which create a deep traumatic impact on their life. According to the Public School Review, about 48% of children from newborns to 17 years old were reported to have experienced at least one of these incidents, and about 22.6% had two or more. Children of different ages may react to trauma differently, but every type of trauma can abruptly affect a child’s future.
Many researchers have shown that children with past traumatic experiences develop learning issues and are at a higher risk of expulsions from school and colleges. As educators, we often neglect the child’s unruly behavior in school and punish them for that. The children showing unusual behaviors must be taken care of properly as they can be going through a rough patch. Therefore, screening childhood trauma is imperative in schools for the betterment of a child’s future.
What Constitutes Universal Screening of Students?
Childhood trauma can have a long-lasting impact on a child, which can ruin a child’s life. By screening students at school for trauma, it will be possible to recognize the early signs of trauma and provide proper care to avoid mental disorders in the future. One of the recent steps toward solving childhood trauma is screening children at schools. Because of Dr. Burke harris, this urgent crisis is finally being addressed, and here are the reasons why:
- If left untreated, Childhood Trauma can cause lasting biological damage.
Many child development experts have suspected seeing the biological evidence that childhood trauma can have a permanent impact. It is not necessarily temporary and can disrupt the brain and other physical development in the child’s body. For most of the children who experience adverse childhood instances, their minds change how they respond to the stresses in the future.
- The consequences of trauma can be resolved if detected early.
No one has the power to undo a traumatic experience. All we can do is to resolve the lingering effect of trauma. We often neglect as an adult how resilient children can be under any worst circumstances. If these circumstances are detected early, we can help children recover from the long-lasting trauma before they become worse.
- Screening students will help educators understand them in a better way.
When your children’s educator understands better the reasons behind the stubborn, violent, or unexpected behavior of a child, they can respond in a better and less punitive way. Teachers can find ways to talk to the children calmly rather than reacting to what has already happened. Children feel and respond better when they are loved and understood well. For instance, if the educator is aware of the student’s mental well-being, he/she can keep a regular check on their behavior and performance and guide through for their betterment. Whenever the child reacts negatively, the school psychologist can counsel the child. This will make the child feel safe and loved and boost their confidence.
Implementing universal screening is undoubtedly a daunting task, but it is not impossible too. With a proper plan and follow up, the school system can anticipate positive results after implementing student screening for childhood trauma.