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How Trauma is Changing Children’s Brains [NEA Today]

Read more about the traumatized brain from NEA Today.

For several years, John Snelgrove began his workweek with a lengthy fax from the local police, listing the home addresses where officers had answered domestic violence calls over the weekend.

Snelgrove, head of guidance services for Brockton (Mass.) Public Schools, would check those addresses against the district’s student database. When a match came up, he’d alert the counselor at that child’s school, who, in turn, would take a red envelope and deliver it to the child’s teacher. Inside was a slip of paper with a student’s name and a quick prescription for “TLC.”

A Sunday night, disrupted by violence, panic, and 911 calls, surely will make it difficult for a child to settle down to learn on Monday morning. But, even more than that, researchers have found that exposure to unrelenting stress and repeated traumas can change a child’s brain, making it easier to “fight or flee” from perceived dangers and harder to focus and learn. Understanding this neuroscience makes it possible for educators to create trauma-sensitive classroom.

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