Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Trauma Sensitive Schools

What is Trauma?
Types of Traumatic Exposure
What is Complex Trauma?
Trauma Response and Reaction
Effects of Trauma
Effects on Children - By Function
Effects on Children - By Age

About Trauma: What is Trauma?

Trauma can represent a serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident. It is also recognized as an emotional wound or shock that creates substantial, lasting damage to the psychological development of a person. Finally, trauma can represent an event or situation that causes great distress and disruption. Trauma is not an event itself, but rather a response to a stressful experience in which an individual's ability to cope is undermined. It is suspected that one out of four children (25.2%) in the United States is affected by trauma before the age of 18. It is suspected that these numbers may be underestimated due to failure to diagnose or report this problem. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is committed to providing for the needs of every child and recognizes the need to acknowledge trauma sensitive practice in schools.

Material partially adapted from Helping Traumatized Children Learn: A Report and Policy Agenda, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, 2005.

Last Updated: December 18, 2007
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