References

Dix P. When The Adults Change, Everything Changes.: Independent Thinking Press; 2017

Behaviour: Promoting inclusion using a trauma-informed approach

02 December 2020
5 min read
Volume 1 · Issue 6

Abstract

Children and young people who have experienced trauma may exhibit challenging behaviour as a result of learned trauma responses. Pooky Knightsmith provides some practical advice for school staff members on providing a more inclusive trauma-informed approach.

Some of the children who may struggle to engage in class or whose behaviour presents us with challenges are exhibiting a learned trauma response. Using a trauma-informed approach will support these children (and their peers as well).

Trauma rewires the brain. When we are in danger our thinking, speaking brains shut down and we go into fight, flight, freeze or faint mode. When that happens repeatedly or continuously this can end up as a default response, with these pathways strengthened through repeated use while other pathways go neglected.

The good news is that brains are plastic and every single time a child has a positive experience or interaction a little bit more work is being done to move towards a brain whose default wiring is not a fear response. It is important for school staff to remember the following:

‘Trauma rewires the brain. When we are in danger our thinking, speaking brains shut down and we go into fight, flight, freeze or faint mode. When that happens repeatedly or continuously this can end up as a default response, with these pathways strengthened through repeated use while other pathways go neglected.’

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