Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Go to Selected Program Area
Massachusetts State Seal
Students & Families Educators & Administrators Teaching, Learning & Testing Data & Accountability Finance & Funding About the Department Education Board  

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: Trauma Response and Reaction

Typical responses to a traumatic or threatening experience can fall into one of three categories: freeze, flight or fight response.

Common reactions from posttraumatic stress include:

Intrusive Reactions:
The traumatic experience is re-experienced. It may include distressing thoughts or images of the event while someone is awake or dreaming. This experience may also include upsetting emotional or physical reactions in the body. The person may feel like the trauma is happening again. This is called a "flashback" and can be triggered.

Avoidance and Withdrawal Reactions:
This set of behaviors is the ways people try to prevent or protect against an intrusive reaction. They can include restricted emotions or behaviors to avoid any connection to the event. It may lead to social withdrawal or loss of interest in pleasurable activities.

Physical Arousal Reactions:
These reactions mimic the physical changes that occur in the body as if the danger is still present and occurring. A person may show signs of constant awareness to include: startling easily, irritability, outbursts of anger, difficulty falling or staying asleep, difficulty concentrating or paying attention.

Last Updated: December 18, 2007
E-mail this page| Print View| Print Pdf  
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Search·Public Records Requests · A-Z Site Index · Policies · Site Info · Contact ESE