Teaching and student sitting and talking in playgroundThe explosions in Boston in April 2013 and the tragedy that took the lives of very young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012 elicited strong feelings and emotions from the entire nation and perhaps especially from those who work with and care for children. At times like these we need to be aware of what children experience as well as what they see and hear on the news. The resources in the Coping with Trauma section of MAP will help you address the needs of children in times of violence and trauma. Some of the resources are specific to children with special needs and others are more general. Some of the resources are available in other languages as indicated.




A Call for More Effective Prevention of Violence

In Response to the Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School: Position Statement of the Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence: Endorsed by 183 organizations and more than 200 prevention scholars and practitioners (From the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia). Provides a thoughtful discussion of policy and provides recommendations for action.


ACES Too High

ACES Too High is a news site that reports on research about adverse childhood experiences, including developments in epidemiology, neurobiology, and the biomedical and epigenetic consequences of toxic stress. We also cover how people, organizations, agencies and communities are implementing practices based on the research. This includes developments in education, juvenile justice, criminal justice, public health, medicine, mental health, social services, and cities, counties and states.

  • The Secret to Fixing School Discipline? Change the Behavior of Teachers
    Two kindergarteners at Cherokee Point Elementary School in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood get into a fight on the playground. Their teacher sends them to the principal’s office. Instead of suspending or expelling the six-year-olds, as happens in many schools, Principal Godwin Higa ushers them to his side of the desk. He sits down so that he can talk with them eye-to-eye and quietly asks: “What happened?” He points to one of the boys. “You go first.”
  • Five Minute Video Primer about the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (Video)
    Published: April 5, 2016 | 5 minutes
    Many people have been asking for a short video that explains the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, the groundbreaking epidemiological research that revealed the link between childhood trauma and the adult onset of chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence.
  • England and Wales produce new animation about ACEs & resilience (Video)
    Published: May 1, 2017 | 5:43 minutes
    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are those that directly harm a child; such as physical, verbal and sexual abuse or physical or emotional neglect – as well as those that affect the environment where they grow up; including parental separation, domestic violence, mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug use or incarceration.



Center for Inclusive Child Care: Tip Sheets on Trauma

  • Children and Trauma: How Children May Respond-Tip Sheet from Center for Inclusive Child Care (PDF)
    Almost all children will experience some sort of distress or reaction following a traumatic experience. This is normal and to be expected, although in some cases, the symptoms of trauma do not show up until weeks or months after the experience. The symptoms of trauma differ in each individual.
  • Trauma and Challenging Behavior-Tip Sheet from Center for Inclusive Child Care (PDF)
    Behavior is communication! Children who have been impacted by trauma may be mistaken as being a child with difficult behavioral challenges and/or receive a misdiagnosis. Since infants, toddlers and many
    preschoolers do not typically have the language skills to communicate their needs and experiences, they communicate through their behavior.
  • Strategies to Support Children who have Experienced Trauma-Tip Sheet from Center for Inclusive Child Care (PDF)
    The American Psychological Association describes a traumatic event as an occurrence in which there is a threat of injury, death or of bodily harm to one’s self or others. Feelings experienced during this incident include horror, terror and/or helplessness. The body often has powerful responses to trauma such as a pounding or racing heart, short and rapid breaths and trembling. These physical responses often overwhelm the individual making it difficult to use his usual strategies for coping. Children who have experienced and been impacted by trauma benefit from high-quality relationships with others. 

Child Care Aware: Crisis and Disaster Resources

Child Care Aware® of America is proud to work with the Partnership for Disaster Preparedness, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Save the Children to protect children before, during and after an emergency — including traumatic events or natural disasters. Resources are available specific to families, caregivers, school professionals and resource and referral agencies.


Child Mind Institute: Trauma Resources

The Child Mind Institute has prepared free trauma resources to aid parents, educators, and other adults in talking to children and adolescents about potentially traumatic events and identifying those who might benefit from more focused professional attention. Our children can be more sensitive to challenges around them because of their life experience and they need our support. Resources are available in English, Spanish, French, Arabic, German, Hebrew, Italian, Chinese, Russian, and Bengali.


Child Trends: Trauma Resources

Child Trends is the nation’s leading nonprofit research organization focused exclusively on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth, and their families.

  • Five Ways Trauma Informed Care Supports Children’s Development
    This news bulletin describes childhood trauma and explains the importance of trauma informed care (TIC) as providing a common language to support children who have been exposed to trauma. It includes links to resources and provides information helpful to parents and everyone who works with children.
  • Helping Young Children Who Have Experienced Trauma: Policies and Strategies for Early Education
    This report from Child Trends and the National Center for Children in Poverty includes a review of the prevalence of early childhood trauma and its effects. The report offers promising strategies for child care and preschool programs looking to help young children who have endured trauma, and presents recommendations for policymakers to support trauma-informed early care.


Edutopia: Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators and Parents

When tragic events happen, it can be difficult for educators, administrators, and parents to know how to help children understand and cope. How adults manage their own reactions, as well as how they help students deal with their questions and feelings, are important factors in providing children with the support and guidance they will need. Below are some useful, informative, and thoughtful resources for adults to help children through traumatic situations. Some of these resources are relevant to parents as well as educators.


Edutopia: Unspeakable Tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School

Provides links to various media including videos from NBC news, Common Sense Media and articles in the New York Times Learning Network about how to talk to your kids about news how to help kids cope with trauma.


Emergency Preparedness Tip Sheets: Helping Children Cope with Crises and Tragic Events

Source: Office of Head Start – March 2, 2015

The Office of Head Start’s National Center on Health (NCH) has released two new tip sheets that focus on children’s responses to crises and tragic events, as well as ways to help children cope. They are available in both Spanish and English.

  • Children’s Responses to Crises and Tragic Events (PDF) – Infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and young children who experience a tragic event may show changes in their behaviors. They also may be indirectly affected by a crisis through what they hear or see on the TV. This tip sheet provides information on what families and staff might see and how children may respond. It also includes additional resources.
  • Helping Your Child Cope After a Disaster (PDF) – After a disaster or crisis, children benefit when adults assure them that they are safe and help them learn how to cope effectively. This tip sheet provides families and staff with things they can do to help a child feel safe after a disaster or crisis.

Friendship Circle: Four Ways to Prevent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children

The reality of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children is something most adults want to ignore. We don’t want to believe young children, much less infants, can develop PTSD. But they can. That’s the bad news. But there’s also good news, and it is this: resources and techniques can be employed to keep ordinary childhood traumas from turning into PTSD. This final post in Friendship Circle’s series about PTSD in kids highlights several of them.


Head Start Trauma Start Crittendon Children’s Center

Head Start Trauma Start Crittendon Children’s Center has implemented an early childhood trauma intervention model that addresses the effects of complex trauma—such as community and family violence, poverty, illness, and homelessness— for young preschool-age children, their families, and the Head Start teachers who care for them.


Helping Children Birth Through 5 Rebound from Traumatic Experiences: Create Classrooms That Support Recovery – Recorded Webinar with Downloadable Resources

Recorded: October 25, 2016
Join this powerful session by Cate Heroman and Jenna Bilmes, authors of Helping Children Rebound, to build your understanding of how children might behave after experiencing a disturbing event and why. The presenters will share examples of how traumatic events such as natural disasters, terrorist incidents, witnessing violence, and even seeing reports of death and destruction in the news can impact children’s behavior. The session will also include specific strategies to help teachers meet the emotional needs of children who have been affected by traumatic experiences. You will also receive links to two  FREE downloadable guides to help preschool and infant/toddler teachers identify specific behaviors that may indicate emotional distress and implement strategies to address them.


How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime by Nadine Burke Harris

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.




National Child Trauma Stress Network: Resources for Educators

Provides a comprehensive website on trauma with information and resources for parents, care givers and educators in English and Spanish.

  • Psychological First Aid Online
    PFA online includes a 6-hour interactive course that puts the participant in the role of a provider in a post-disaster scene. This professionally-narrated course is for individuals new to disaster response who want to learn the core goals of PFA, as well as for seasoned practitioners who want a review.


PBS Parents: Talking with Kids About News – Violence Through Your Child’s Eyes

Children often interpret war and violence in the news very differently from adults. When young children see or hear about violent events, they may first worry about their own safety. Because they are not able to fully understand things like cause and effect, or even distance, it’s hard for them to make distinctions between an immediate threat and one that is far away. Even middle-schoolers will not be able to fully comprehend an event the ways adults do. The following pointers may help you understand the way they view events in the news and provide ideas on how you can help.


Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services

Published: January 2017
The guide is intended to provide an introduction to the topic of trauma, a discussion of why understanding and addressing trauma is important for human services programs, and a “road map” to find relevant resources. It includes Concept Papers, Guiding Questions and Answers on key topics and Trauma Resources for Specific Human Services Programs or Populations. Samples of these are below:



San Francisco’s El Dorado Elementary Uses Trauma-Informed & Restorative Practices

“We’re trying to change the school culture,” by teaching educators about the underlying neurobiology of trauma, El Dorado’s principle explains. “When we see aggravating behavior in a kid and ask the question, ‘What has happened to you?’ instead of ‘What’s wrong with you?’, that’s the fundamental reframe. This reframe helps give the behavior a context, engenders compassion, and helps us respond more effectively.”


Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress: A Series of Reports from the Office of Planning Research and Evaluation and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) was founded in 1966 by a small group of scientists who had a vision—to conduct research that would make a difference in children’s lives, support families, and inform public policy.


Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress: Foundations for Understanding Self-Regulation From an Applied Developmental Perspective

This is the first in a series of four inter-related reports titled Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress. The first report, Foundations for Understanding Self-Regulation from an Applied Developmental Perspective, provides a comprehensive framework for understanding self-regulation in context, using a theoretical model that reflects the influence of biology, caregiving, and the environment on the development of self-regulation.


Services for Families of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Trauma: A Research to Practice Brief

Research documents the high rate of exposure to trauma among infants and toddlers, particularly children living in high-poverty communities. Beginning life in the context of trauma places infants and toddlers on a compromised developmental path. This brief summarizes what is known about the impact of trauma on infants and toddlers, and the intervention strategies that could potentially protect them from the adverse consequences of traumatic experiences.


Social Policy Report on Children and Terrorism

This paper explores the impact of growing up in a world with terrorism on children and youth. It considers both the direct traumatic effects of being a victim and the indirect effects of living in communities and societies in which the threat of terrorism is on the minds of children, but perhaps more importantly, of adults generally, and parents and policy makers in particular.


Trauma Informed Care – Perspectives and Resources: A comprehensive web-based, video-enhanced resource tool

Published: July 27, 2016
Many resources, actions, and lessons learned from entities that have become trauma informed, are necessary to help child-serving systems and provider organizations on their journey to becoming trauma informed. The National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at Georgetown University and JBS International created this web-based tool to support leaders and decision makers at all levels (national, state, tribal, territorial, and local) in taking steps on their journey. This tool comprised of issue briefs, video interviews, and resource lists tells a story of implementation of trauma informed services and offers guidance and resources to help you on your implementation journey.



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