At every turn, we are hearing more about trauma and the impact on students and their educational experience. As research continues to inform what we know about the impact of trauma on neurology, behavior and relationships, it will continue to transform how we are able to effectively respond to the complex, changing needs of our students.
The foundation for our knowledge about trauma and children is the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study. While for many of us, the ACEs term might be new, you may be surprised to know that the research around Adverse Childhood Experiences is actually over 20 years old. In the mid 1990’s, Dr. Vincent Felitti and Dr. Robert Anda from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed 17,000 volunteers on their childhood trauma experiences. The research sample included primarily white, middle class participants who had attended college, were employed and had health insurance. Adult participants were asked about their childhood history and whether they had experienced 10 different types of trauma including:
A further research study conducted by the Area Health Education Center of Washington State University examined the correlation between ACES and school performance. This study found that students with at least three ACEs are three times as likely to experience academic failure, six times as likely to have behavioral problems, and five times as likely to have attendance problems. Children who are exposed to adverse childhood experiences may become overloaded with stress hormones, leaving them in a constant state of arousal and alertness to environmental and relational threats. Therefore, they may have difficulty focusing on school work, and consolidating new memory, making it harder for them to learn at school (further information on that study can be found at acestoohigh.com).
With such compelling facts about the connection between adverse childhood experiences and academic success, we are compelled to consider what school can do to mitigate the impact of trauma, increase student resilience and support school success.
Below is a list of ideas of what each of us can do to support students that have experienced trauma:
This post brought to you by Denise Moody MSW, LICSW; Assistant Director of Student Services
Feel free to contact Moody at 507.328.4274 or to connect with her via email
Enjoy our Blog!
Members of the Secondary C&I team weekly post useful tools, tips, and tricks to help you help students.