I Believe Square Pegs Need Trauma-Sensitive Schools

A.T. Caycedo-Kimura, 2013
by: Melissa Sadin

At ATN we believe that early childhood trauma and attachment disruption impacts brain development. A study found that children living in an Eastern European orphanage had larger more reactive amygdalae and smaller hippocampal volume than children in the same country that had never been in an orphanage. In addition, the same researchers found that the longer a child lived in an orphanage, the greater the difference in brain development.

At ATN we believe that children with early childhood trauma or attachment disruption can heal. This same study then followed a group of children who were removed from the orphanage and placed in trauma informed homes in the U.K. After one year, the brain development of the children who had been removed was significantly improved as compared to the children who remained in the orphanage.

At ATN we believe that children with early childhood trauma or attachment disruption need trauma-informed care to improve their outcomes. Children spend more time in school each year than they spend in their homes. Schools with trauma-informed programs and practices have higher graduation rates, lower discipline problems, and higher overall positive school climates. Children in trauma-informed schools report feeling safer than children in schools without trauma informed programs.

In the past year, ATN created a Trauma Sensitive Schools Think Tank on Facebook. We have provided support, advocacy and education for parents and teachers who hope to support children with trauma or attachment disorders in the classroom. In ATN’s Learning Center you can find recordings from our Education Summit, webinars about children with trauma and special education in schools and about the impact of trauma on the brain that impacts learning and behavior. Our next Journal will be devoted to trauma informed school programs and practices.

If you believe as we do, please give generously so we can continue to support, educate and advocate in 2016.

Dr. Sadin is a nationally recognized expert in creating trauma-sensitive schools and author of several books on the trauma-informed education movement. A life-long educator, Dr. Sadin has served as a teacher, administrator and school board member. She is also the parent of two, including one impacted by trauma due to his early adversities before being adopted.