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Parenting with PACEs. PACEs science & stories. Trauma-informed change.

Calming the body before calming the mind: Sensory strategies for children affected by trauma []


By Clare Ryan and Berry Streets, The Sector, June 23, 2020

Children who have experienced trauma may find it more difficult to regulate their emotions and behaviours than other children. Understanding the impact trauma can have on brain development can help inform practical responses to these children’s needs.

 This short article describes how practitioners can use strategies that help calm children’s bodies in order to help calm their minds and emotions – specifically, the Regulate–Relate–Reason approach used in Berry Street’s Take Two program.

 Stages of brain development

Optimal brain organisation depends on young children repeatedly having the right experiences at the right times, within safe and predictable relationships with their carers. According to the Neurosequential Model, there are three main stages of brain development in the early years (Perry, Pollard, Blakley, Baker, & Vigilante, 1995).

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