Prescribing medications may be simpler and easier than implement-
ing measures that provide emotional security, but medications do not
always heal or strengthen the neural connections in the brain; sometimes
they only manage the symptoms. Misdiagnoses allow the real cause to
go undetected and without any intervention (Steele and Malchiodi 2012).
Trauma-informed educators can help children by supporting a careful and
honest diagnosis process that will give students the help they need.
Stressed and hyperactive children benefit from teachers who capital-
ize on students’ strengths, including ones traditionally not part of aca-
demic learning, such as art, music, creative writing, or interpretive dance.
Introducing subjects and activities of personal interest to children will help
them strengthen their self-regulation and ability to focus.
Trauma-informed teachers present concepts and new knowledge in
small portions, reinforced by hands-on activities. Stressed children require
opportunities to integrate new information into their real-life experiences
and understandings. One way to do this is to encourage children to relate
new information to their life experiences through stories or drawings.
Another way to strengthen stressed children’s sense of security is to con-
nect them with students from several grades above them as buddies or
companions. I have had the privilege of working with early child educators who
were so dedicated and caring that they collected clothes for students who
needed replacements. Trauma-informed teachers are equally attentive to
the internal sense of stability and confidence of stressed children. Teach-
ers today have a noble opportunity to make a lifelong difference in the
lives of fragile young children.
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Early Traumatic Stress