What is a childhood trauma test, and how can it be used to inform the type of provision a school facilitates?
What is a Childhood Trauma Test?
Trauma is the emotional reaction to an incident that a person experiences, such as an accident, bullying, or natural disaster.
Reactions can be divided into two categories: short-term reactions and long-term reactions. Short-term responses happen immediately after the events. Long-term effects can include unstable emotions, flashbacks, lack of contact, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.
Although these emotions are common, some people find it difficult to go on with their life.
To further assess the potential impact of childhood trauma, a Childhood Trauma Test can be taken. This is a brief online test that evaluates an individual's potential to be affected by some type of childhood trauma. The results from this test may provide greater insight into the severity and impact of experiences in an individual's life, as well as strategies to cope with any trauma.
In addition to the test, individuals can take an in-depth look at their childhood experiences by engaging in writing exercises or speaking to their support networks. This can be incredibly beneficial in identifying and addressing areas of trauma that may have been overlooked during the test. It is essential to remember that every individual has had unique experiences as a child which should not be used for comparison or judgement.
If an individual feels that their trauma is more serious than what the test identified, it is recommended to seek help from a mental health professional. A mental health professional is trained to address and diagnose childhood trauma. They will likely use therapeutic techniques and strategies to create a safe environment where individuals can talk about their traumas in a judgement-free space.
We will all experience both unpleasant events and joyous times. There is something inside all of us that is a result of all our memories and experiences. All of these experiences and recollections have left a mark on who we are. What do we refer to as the effect of these things? How are we affected by these events? How can we handle it? In this article, we will address all these queries.
Types of Childhood Trauma
This subsection will focus on the different types of trauma and provide a short outline of each. Understanding the different types of trauma is essential since they can all have a profound impact on a person's life. It might affect a person's employment, interpersonal connections, or health.
Let's explore these types together.
Acute Trauma: represents great pain due to a single event, and the reaction lasts only briefly. A car accident, a physical or sexual attack, or the unexpected loss of a loved one are typical examples.
Chronic Trauma: can happen due to negative events that occur frequently or repeatedly. It may develop as a result of severe bullying, neglect, abuse that is either emotional, physical, or sexual, as well as intimate partner violence.
Complex Trauma: can occur when a person is exposed to a series of traumatic events from which they cannot recover. It includes the feeling of being tied down. Like other forms of trauma, it can impair one's sense of security in the world and lead to hypervigilance, which is the obsessive and exhausting monitoring for warning signs of danger.
Secondary or vicarious trauma: a condition that can affect persons who work in occupations that need them to respond to injury and disaster, such as doctors and police departments, and is brought on by being exposed to other people's pain. Emotional exhaustion occurs when such people avoid emotionally engaging with others to protect themselves from experiencing distress.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE): include a broad range of challenging circumstances that young children either experience directly or observe as they develop before they have mastered effective coping skills. ACEs can disrupt the natural path of development, and the emotional damage may persist well into adulthood.
The most frequent sorts of adverse childhood experiences are divorce, neglect, and abuse on any level—emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
Childhood trauma is the key area that we'll emphasize in today's post.
You can also take an online trauma test at the link below to determine whether or not you have experienced trauma.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
Let's all acknowledge that childhood is a crucial period in a person's growth. Both nature and nurture have an impact on a child. Nature refers to biological and inherited factors. While nurture is the outcome of all the things that surround the child, nurture is the impact of external factors like parental involvement, finances, and social life.
Let's all agree that the child is a reflection of what we foster and inspire inside them. As a result, if I have a child in my class and I constantly criticize his decisions, the child will develop low self-esteem. The young person is deeply convinced that whatever they are doing is improper. The child will have lost faith in themselves by that point.
Child Trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). The definition of "Child Trauma" or ACE is the same as what was said above regarding trauma. It describes a terrifying, harmful, violent, or life-threatening incident that affects a child and happens from birth until the age of 18. The individual may still experience trauma after turning 18; this is not a guarantee. They may not be classified as "childhood trauma," yet they may still experience distress from events.
Sometimes, seeing or hearing about the harm or injury of another child can possibly cause childhood trauma. For instance, a child might become terrified to cross the street after hearing that one of his or her friends was struck by a car while crossing the street.
Therefore, when a youngster has these types of experiences, the child may feel helpless, upset, or overwhelmed. As previously said, these events can occur to anyone at any time and at any age; however, not all occurrences have a traumatic effect. That indicates that not all unpleasant events count as trauma.
A traumatic life event for one youngster could not be traumatic for another. For instance, one child may be impacted by their parent's divorce, whereas the other one might not.
We shall now discuss about the common factor of childhood trauma in the following section.
You can use the following video in your classroom to explain to the students what trauma is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJ8Hxglh0jQ
Understanding the Causes of Traumatic Childhood Experiences
Typically, everything occurs for a purpose. You can sometimes remember these justifications, but other times you can't. For instance, I'm afraid of stray dogs; I honestly can't recall why, but there's definitely a cause. We will look at a few potential causes of ACE in this section.
Some of these causes and types of childhood trauma can be:
- Causing harm to your child, such as pulling their hair, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting them
- Causing damage to their property in a wave of anger by throwing things, punching walls, kicking doors, etc.
- Leaving the youngster attended in an unknown location.
- Touching a child's private parts
- Forcing a child to touch another person's private parts
- Putting things inside private parts, or other parts of his / her body
- Exposing a child to sexual material
- Forcing a child to engage in sexual activity
- Watching a child change into clothes or use the toilet, frequently without the child's knowledge
- The act of approaching a child sexually or exposure on child via computers, mobile devices, or social media
- Taking sexual images of a child
- Physical neglect: A child is not given enough food, clothing, or housing, and they are not properly cared for or kept safe, e.g., wearing dirty clothes or sleeping too little.
- Educational neglect: Parents do not ensure their children receive an education.
- Emotional neglect: A child loses the care and excitement they need. This may be accomplished by ignoring, dismissing, terrifying, or isolating them.
- Medical neglect: Lack of appropriate medical treatment for a child. Dental care and declining or disobeying medical advice are part of this.
Emotional and Social Abuse
- Constantly rejecting the child's thoughts, ideas, and opinions
- Keeping an eye on a child's online and offline activities, publishing images of them without their consent, and attempting to destroy their relationships or reputation.
- Verbal abuse includes, screaming, and swearing. Insults, such as calling the child names or calling them stupid, or shaming the child in front of others.
- Public embarrassment is one type of social abuse.
- Making the child experience fear, anxiety, or panic.
- Limiting a child's freedom of movement and preventing them from making contacts with others, such as friends or relatives, are both examples of isolation. It might also involve preventing the youngster from engaging in their regular activities, such as sports, social gatherings, school, or employment. Social abuse and isolation are similar.
- Financial abuse includes limiting or denying a child access to money and prohibiting them from working or attending school. Domestic violence can sometimes take the form of financial abuse
- Bullying and harassment are actions or words that are repeatedly done with the purpose of harming a child.
- Natural disasters, such as storms, floods, wars, or earthquakes
This movie illustrates the story of how neglect may lead to childhood trauma:
Understanding the Impact of Childhood Trauma
Childhood trauma can have long-lasting and far-reaching impacts on a child’s physical, emotional and mental health. Traumatic events during childhood can affect an individual's ability to manage emotions, form relationships and complete educational or career goals throughout their life.
This can manifest in the form of physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches or general restlessness. Emotional signs of trauma may include feelings of sadness or hopelessness, extreme irritability and/or anger outbursts as well as sensations of guilt and anxiety when faced with everyday tasks.
Traumatic experiences are often associated with changes in mental health, including depression or PTSD as well as poor decision-making skills due to the damage suffered in their young lives. In some cases, children can also experience difficulties regulating their emotions which can lead to aggressive behaviour.
- Fear of being without a parent or carer
- Frequently scream or cry
- Losing weight through poor eating
- Having nightmares
Elementary School Children
- Feel afraid or anxious
- A feeling of shame or guilt
- Having difficulties focusing and losing focus levels
- Having trouble falling asleep
Middle and High School Children
- Feel down or isolated
- Acquire eating problems or self-harming attitudes
- Start misusing drugs or alcohol
- Take part in dangerous sexual activity
Additional Effects of Trauma :
- Learning difficulties, such as lower grades and more suspensions and disciplinary actions
- Mental health disorders such as anger control issues, depression, emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lifelong health problems (e.g., diabetes and heart disease)
- Having low self-esteem
Addressing Childhood Trauma
A child's life can be affected by childhood trauma, which can have a lasting effect. Addressing these traumas is essential. There is always a solution for any type of mental health condition. In this part, let's examine a few of these methods.
It involves teaching people about the emotions and thoughts linked to PTSD, structured trauma management, and skill development to identify and handle negative thoughts related to traumatic events.
Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
It is an additional form of cognitive behavioral treatment that is similar to the CPT. This evidence-based strategy, which is built on family support and the involvement of trustworthy parents and carers in the healing process, combines trauma-sensitive interventions with cognitive behavioral approaches, humanistic principles, and family support.
Children, teens, and adolescents who are experiencing severe emotional challenges as a result of a traumatic event can benefit from TF-CBT. Twelve to fifteen sessions are usually required.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): This is another therapy for handling PTSD and trauma.
In EMDR, trauma-related memories are reorganized using repetitive eye movements. Eight processes make up EMDR, including history, planning, assessment, therapy, and evaluation. According to research, EMDR is a treatment that is proven to be effective in addressing forgotten memories of traumatic events and negative life events.
Narrative exposure therapy is a brief individual intervention that concentrates on blending trauma exposure into a timeline, which is an autobiographical scenario.
After the patient's therapy is over, this narrative remains with them. People who have experienced several traumatic incidents respond best to NET therapy.
A child can be observed by the therapist while engaging in play during a session of play therapy. They can use this age-appropriate activity to talk about trauma and create coping skills.
Art therapy: Art therapy can be considered an effective treatment approach to address and heal the impact of traumatic situations. It includes art forms such as drawing, coloring, painting, collages, and sculpture.
According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy offers verbal expression. It can enhance cognitive function, encourage self-worth and self-awareness, reduce conflict and stress, and promote emotional strength.
Prolonged exposure therapy: It is a branch of CBT that is used to treat PTSD and other mental health issues. Frequently, it lasts for three months. The therapist helps patients in addressing memories, fears, feelings, and circumstances connected to trauma during the sessions. Before therapy can start, the therapeutic relationship must be established.
There will be differences in the treatment programs for adults, adolescents, and children. Due to this, children require specialized therapy that is targeted to their developmental stages and ability to engage in the process.
These are all potential strategies for dealing with stressful events. By the end of this piece, I aim to have given a succinct review of childhood trauma and how it might impact a child.
We all need to keep in mind that no one acts out of character; there is always a motivation behind his attitude. Investigating the root of the problem will help us address it, this is the key.