by Dr. Meghan Burke

With Senate Resolution 0099, Illinois declared May 15, 2019, as Trauma-Informed Awareness Day to highlight the impact of trauma and the importance of prevention and community resilience through trauma-informed care. Trauma can be defined as family violence, abuse, illness, neglect, maltreatment, or family separation.

When a young child incurs trauma, there can be significant repercussions. For example, trauma can impact child’s brain development. Specifically, trauma can impact a child’s health, emotional development, and cognition. Further, trauma between a parent and a child can impact the child’s attachment to their family. Altogether, the effects of trauma are multipronged, impacting the child and family.

There are many strategies to address trauma among young children, such as:

  • Teaching coping strategies. Talk to your child about expressing their emotions in a healthy way. Acknowledge their feelings.
  • Noticing behavior that seems unusual for your child. Pay attention to their behavior. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns.
  • Modeling optimism and positivity. This will help demonstrate resilience.
  • Demonstrating empathy. Show your child your concern through your actions.

The Early Childhood Collective (ECC) has a list of resources for training to increase awareness for everyone in this vital work with young children. For the list, see the collective’s Trauma and Neglect resource bundle.

Providing Trauma-Informed Supports