Developmental Trauma

WHAT IS DEVELOPMENTAL TRAUMA?

Developmental trauma can be understood as any condition or event occurring during pregnancy or the early years which has an effect on the physical, emotional, social or cognitive development of the child.  

As babies, we are pre-programmed to draw on adults to meet our needs.  We need safe, predictable, and loving caregivers who respond appropriately to our needs.  This response helps support the brain to develop in a healthy, normal sequence of growth. 

Foster children can experince trauma pre-birth through parental drug misuse or substance abuse.  Trauma can be the result of life experinces such as physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

Children who have suffered early trauma can exhibit some of the following difficulties

  • Extreme difficulty or impossibility to manage their emotions
  • Inability to bond with parents and form positive attachments
  • Show aggressive behaviours
  • Show regressed behaviours (act much younger than their years)
  • Have difficulty sleeping
  • Have difficulty managing food issues (stealing or hoarding food is a very common example)
  • Have a negative concept of themselves, the world and adults including an expectation of rejection and punishment
  • Suffer from self hatred and exceedingly low self esteem
  • Unable to control impulsivity and risk taking
  • Unable to link cause and effect and therefore consequences
  • May have multiple sensory processing issues

These children need specialist care, within a fully supportive environment if they are to recover from trauma and achieve their full potential.