Trauma Informed Newsletter
Parkway Montessori - March 2016
Trauma and the Brain
Trauma information is so relevant today due to all of the brain research that has been done. Being a trauma informed school is grounded in staff understanding how our bodies, particularly our brains, are affected by exposure to trauma and toxic stress.
Traumatized children experience changes in brain development, neurochemistry, and genetic expression. The impact trauma has on the brain has a negative impact on one's ability to organize information, understand cause and effect, build relationships, and regulate emotions and behavior, etc. Trauma also shapes individuals' perceptions of the world around them, altering their view of what is safe and unsafe. This is why you may often hear a student say "stop yelling at me" or "get out of my face" when you are not yelling and are giving them plenty of space.
Watch the neuroplasticity video below to see how:
The Fight, Flight, Freeze Response
Fight = Become aggressive, verbally or physically. Defiant.
Flight = Run away, leave area.
Freeze = Become still, withdraw mentally.
When this happens, the thinking brain (frontal lobe) does not function. That is why you can't reason or process with an escalated student, but instead must wait for them to calm down. Help a student regulate their body/emotions before trying to process with them by giving them some space, asking they take a break, using a calm tone, giving simple directions, and/or taking a few deep breaths with them.