Stress and Trauma in Young Children


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources.

Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

child hiding behind parent

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a proclamation recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month and May 15 as Trauma-Informed Awareness Day in Illinois. The proclamation mentions that addressing the effects of trauma in children, youth, adults and families is fundamental to the future.


Building the Bonds of Attachment : Awakening Love in Deeply Traumatized Children
Daniel Hughes
Rowman & Littlefield, 2018
Blending theory and research into a powerful narrative, this book offers effective strategies for facilitating attachment in children who have experienced serious trauma.
Call#: WM 430.5 .H8741 2018
Also available as an eBook and audiobook on 12 CDs

The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Recovering from Trauma and PTSD : Using Compassion-Focused Therapy to Overcome Flashbacks, Shame, Guilt, and Fear
Deborah Lee
New Harbinger, 2011
This book presents the principles of emotion-focused therapy which treats the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, describing how a strategy of compassion and self-help techniques can be used to create a personal sense of security and well-being.
Call#: WS 350.2 .L5101 2011

The Deepest Well : Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity
Nadine Burke Harris
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018
A pioneering physician reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems, and what people can do to break the cycle.
Call#: WM 172.5 .H313 2018
Also available as an eBook and Audiobook on CD

Healing from Trauma : a Survivor’s Guide to Understanding your Symptoms and Reclaiming your Life
Jasmin Lee Cori
Da Capo Press, 2008
For survivors rather than professionals, this book explores the journey all trauma survivors make, offering practical information and healing stories that provide a way out for those who are suffering.
Call#: WM 172.5 .C798 2008
Also available as an eBook and Audiobook on CD

Helping Babies and Children aged 0-6 to Heal after Family Violence : a Practical Guide to Infant- and Child-Led Work
Wendy Bunston
Jessica Kingsley, 2017
This book will help you meet the emotional needs of children who are experiencing trauma, and to enable them to form healthy attachments, both within their families and beyond.
Call#: HV 6626 .B86 2017
Also available as an eBook.

Helping Children with Complex Needs Bounce Back: Resilient Therapy for Parents and Professionals
Kim Aumann and Angie Hart
Jessica Kingsley, 2009
Resilient Therapy is an innovative way of strengthening children with complex needs. This handbook offers accessible and fun exercises and activities. In addition, the latest research is broken down to help in applying it to everyday situations.
Call#: WS 350.2 .A925 2009

Helping Children Cope with Disasters and Terrorism
Annette La Greca, et al. (Eds.)
American Psychological Association, 2002
This book offers clinicians, mental health workers, and other professionals working with children a comprehensive collection of evidence-based literature on the immediate and lasting effects of trauma on children and adolescents. The text covers a wide array of specific types of disasters as well as highly pertinent topics such as school shootings and terrorism.
Call#: WM 170 .H45 2002

Helping Them Heal: How Teachers Can Support Young Children Who Experience Stress and Trauma
Karen Peterson
Gryphon House, 2014
From family instability and poverty to maltreatment to rapid social and technological changes, children endure more stressors than ever before. A young child’s brain is uniquely sensitive to the effects of stress and trauma. This resource will help you find answers, ideas and specific classroom strategies to move children in positive directions. You will learn ways to help children build resilience, self-regulation, and self-competence.
Call#: LB 3430 .P47 2014
Also available as an eBook

Maltreatment and Toxic Stress
Catherine Corr and Deserai Miller
Division for Early Childhood, 2018
This monograph provides leadership and guidance to the EI/ECSE field by creating a deeper understanding of maltreatment and illustrating evidence-based strategies to support these populations.
Call#: LC 3993.2 .M35 2018

Nurturing Resilience : Helping Clients Move Forward from Developmental Trauma
Kathy Kain
North Atlantic Books, 2018
This book provides a new lens through which to understand safety and regulation. For therapists working with both adults and children and anyone dealing with symptoms that typically arise from early childhood trauma–anxiety, behavioral issues, depression, metabolic disorders, migraine, sleep problems, and more–this book offers fresh hope.
Call#: WS 350.2 .K1228 2018

The Simple Guide to Child Trauma : What it is and How to Help
Betsy de Thierry
Jessica Kingsley, 2017
This book is the perfect starting point for any adult caring for or working with a child who has experienced trauma. It will help them to understand more about a child’s emotional and behavioral responses following trauma and provides welcome strategies to aid recovery.
Call#: WS 350.2 .T3473 2017

What Happened to My World: Helping Children Cope with Natural Disaster and Catastrophe
James Greenman
Comfort for Kids, 2005.
A resource for parents, teachers, and anyone working with children. Written following two of the nation’s largest natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the book was written to help adults peer into the minds of children from infancy through the teenage years, and understand their confusion, fears, grief, and struggles to understand why the forces of nature can suddenly disrupt or destroy the world as they know it. It is to help both those who experience and survive catastrophe firsthand, as well as the children who witness from a distance and wonder what it was like or whether someday they will find themselves in similar circumstances.
Call#: WS 350 .G814w 2005


Helping Children Cope with Frightening Events: What Can You Do
24 min; DVD
Educational Activities, Inc., 2005
Based on developmentally best practices, research, Head Start Performance Standards, NAEYC standards, and the work of the Child Trauma Academy, this program gives teachers the skills to help their preschool and early elementary children get back to normal after a traumatic event, such as a natural disaster.
Call#: BF 723 .D5H483 2005

Helping Children Deal with Tragedy, Trauma and Terror
60 min; DVD
Apples Video Magazine; No. 115, Western Illinois University, 2002.
This Apples Video Magazine focuses on the role that teachers, parents and other adults play in helping children deal with death, divorce, illness, war, abuse/neglect, and domestic violence presenting resources that can be used in dealing with these issues, including appropriate children’s literature.
Call#: WS 105.5 .E5H483 2002

How Stress and Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime
15 min; online
TEDMED, 2014
This video 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.

Resiliency Matters: How Trauma Affects Children, Families And Communities
58 min; online
Illinois Newsroom, 2020
Illinois Newsroom spoke with a panel of Champaign County experts about how supportive relationships early in life can minimize long-term consequences of early childhood adversity and how breaking cycles of trauma requires the collective action of entire communities.

Whole People 101: Childhood Trauma
27 min; online video
TPT Twin Cities PBS, 2019
Traumatic experiences in childhood have profound negative effects on health and well-being for life, including historical trauma experienced generations earlier. This video is part of the Whole People video series that spotlights the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) through personal and community stories.


Child Welfare Information Gateway
Child Welfare Information Gateway promotes the safety, permanency, and well-being of children, youth, and families by connecting child welfare, adoption, and related professionals as well as the public to information, resources, and tools covering topics on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, out-of-home care, adoption, and more.


Parks & Recreation, 50(12), 40-45
A Big Threat to Our Little Campers: Protecting Children in Disasters
Sarah Thompson. (2015)
The article focuses on the need of caring children that have experienced natural disasters for helping them improve mental health. It states the Hurricane Katrina of 2005 that killed a number of people, and mentions that many children lost their families during the natural disaster. It offers suggestions for providing care to the children like afterschool program, and meeting the specific needs of the children like reliance on caregivers, and communication and identification of disability. Available upon request from the EI Clearinghouse.

Addressing the Needs of Young Children in Child Welfare: Part C— Early Intervention Services
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2018
This bulletin describes the intersection of child welfare and EI, provides an overview of the EI process, and outlines the challenges and strategies for implementing EI provisions in Federal law.

The Risk and Prevention of Maltreatment of Children with Disabilities
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2018
Children with disabilities are at least three times more likely to be abused or neglected than their peers without disabilities, and they are more likely to be seriously injured or harmed by maltreatment. This bulletin describes the scope of the problem, risk factors, and strategies for prevention.

Supporting Brain Development in Traumatized Children and Youth
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2017
This bulletin summarizes the effects of early trauma on brain development and looks at steps child welfare professionals can take to screen for developmental delays and identify the trauma-affected children and youth in their care.

Zero to Three, 34(2), 34-44
Trauma-Informed Part C Early Intervention: A Vision, A Challenge, A New Reality
Gilkerson, Linda, et al. (2013)
Federal directives require that any child less than 3 years old with a substantiated case of abuse be referred to the early intervention (EI) system. This article details the need and presents a vision for a trauma-informed EI system. The authors describe two exemplary program models which implement this vision and recommend steps which the field can take to move toward a trauma-informed EI.  Available upon request from the EI Clearinghouse.

Understanding the Effects of Maltreatment on Brain Development
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2015
This issue brief provides basic information on brain development and the effects of abuse and neglect on that development. The information is designed to help professionals understand the emotional, mental, and behavioral impact of early abuse and neglect in children who come to the attention of the child welfare system.

Web Resources

Coping After a Natural Disaster
From Zero to Three, this specific resource offers information to help you understand how babies and toddlers can be affected by a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, and what you can do to help your child cope. In addition, Zero to Three offers a variety of other web resources through their topical guide:  Trauma and Stress.

Small Child, Big Stress
An Illinois Early Learning Project tipsheet for parents and caregivers. Also available in Spanish, Polish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and French.

What is the role of teachers in Young Children’s Mental Health
An Illinois Early Learning Project Q&A for parents and caregivers.  Also available in Spanish.

Young Children’s Mental Health: What is Essential?
An Illinois Early Learning Project tipsheet for parents and caregivers. Also available in Spanish, Polish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and French.

When Children Mourn
An Illinois Early Learning Project tipsheet for parents and caregivers. Also available in Spanish and Polish.

Old Home, New Home, Our Home
An Illinois Early Learning Project tipsheet for parents and caregivers. Also available in Spanish and Polish.

Feelings are Fantastic
An Illinois Early Learning Project tipsheet for parents and caregivers. Also available in Spanish, Polish, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and French.

Services for Families of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Trauma. A Research-to-Practice Brief
OPRE Report 2015-14
Administration for Children & Families. US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015
The author briefly summarizes what is known about the impact of trauma on infants and, and the intervention strategies that could potentially protect them from the adverse consequences of traumatic experiences. She focuses on interventions that support parents in providing the stable and nurturing caregiving that is responsive to the child’s general developmental needs and that promotes children’s sense of safety and security.

Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Trauma
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2014
This factsheet discusses the nature of trauma, especially abuse or neglect, the effects of trauma on children and youth, and ways to help a child who has experienced trauma. Also in Spanish.

Parenting Children and Youth Who Have Experienced Abuse or Neglect
Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2018
If you are parenting a child or youth with a history of abuse or neglect, you might have questions about the impacts and how you can help your child heal. This factsheet is intended to help parents (birth, foster, and adoptive) and other caregivers better understand the challenges of caring for a child or youth who has experienced maltreatment and learn about available resources for support. Also in Spanish.

Understanding Trauma in an Early Childhood Context
Office of Head Start, 2020
In this webinar, Dr. Sangeeta Parikshak, social science analyst at the Office of Head Start, is joined by experts in the field. They explore what trauma is and how to recognize its signs and symptoms in young children. They also discuss strategies to promote resilience in children and the adults who care for them.