Helping Children Recover from Trauma

Helping Children Recover from Trauma

Helping children recover from trauma can be one of the most important substance abuse | addiction prevention measures we take. Why?

Childhood trauma, whether it’s that caused by verbal, physical or emotional abuse; neglect; domestic violence; alcoholism or drug addiction in the home; bullying or similar traumatic experiences, can change how a child’s brain develops. It can change a child’s brain chemistry and the way a child’s neural networks form, which in turn influences how that child experiences the world and interprets those experiences. Childhood trauma is one of the five key risk factors for developing addiction.

If we can help a child early – before s/he is diagnosed with a mental illness and put on medications or suspended for behavioral problems at school or falls behind academically because they can’t concentrate, or any of the other common outcomes of ineffectively helping a child recover from trauma – we can change that child’s life.

To that end, I wanted to use this post to share information and resources on a few of the groups and agencies working to help children recover from trauma.

Helping children recover from trauma can be the most important substance abuse | addiction prevention measures we take.

Helping children recover from trauma can be one of the most important substance abuse | addiction prevention measures we take.

ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Too High

ACESTooHigh is the go-to site for background, news and information about:

  • the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study,
  • developmental neurobiology — how severe stress and trauma affect a child’s developing brain and nervous system
  • epigenetics — how our genes turn off and on in response to our experiences and social environment.

ACESTooHigh is also a site that covers what towns, cities, states, social service agencies and organizations, schools, the juvenile justice, criminal justice, public health and medical communities are doing to reduce the burden of ACEs for the tens of millions of people in the United States who have high ACE scores. Links to those projects and programs are posted on the ACEs in Action page. There’s also the accompanying social network community of practice called ACEsConnection, for people who work in these communities to share best and worst practices, information about upcoming events, and to set up groups who want to collaborate on projects. That network also has a rich Resource Center that you enter from the home page.

Trauma-Sensitive Schools

Trauma-Sensitive Schools is an initiative started by The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (TLPI). Their mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school.  Through their Trauma-Sensitive Schools’ initiative, people can find help and resources for:

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events. On their website, people can find:

  • information on various kinds of childhood trauma (neglect, domestic violence, physical abuse, school violence & crises…)
  • resources arranged by Audiences, Topics, and Online Research.


Bottom Line

These are but three groups and agencies working to help children recover from trauma. You can get more specific or go broader by searching “helping children recover from trauma” or “helping a child recover from trauma.” You can also find examples of what’s worked in other locations and how it’s being addressed around the world.

The most important thing we can to do is to do something – anything. Pass this information along to someone who can help a child and/or get actively involved, yourself, through action or donations in/to one of these initiatives or the scores of others working to help children recover from traumatic experiences.

Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author Speaker Consultant Owner at
Lisa Frederiksen is the owner of Breaking the and the author of nine books and hundreds of articles. For over ten years, she has been researching, writing, speaking and consulting on substance abuse prevention, addiction as a brain disease, dual diagnosis, secondhand drinking | drugging, help for the family and related subjects – all centered around 21st century brain and addiction-related research. Her clients (some as far as Kenya, Slovenia and Mexico), include: individuals, families, military troops and personnel, U.S. Forest Service districts and regions, medical school students, businesses, social workers, parent and student groups, family law attorneys, treatment providers and the like. Please feel free to call Lisa at 650-362-3026 or email her at

6 Responses to Helping Children Recover from Trauma

  1. Wow, Lisa this is such an incredibly important article, and one near and dear to my heart. Question – I notice you didn’t mention sexual trauma outright – an icky subject that no one wants to talk about for sure. What do you know, or what resources do know of that address that type trauma specifically? I have read that it is a little different with possibly some other side effects, but then often times it is lumped together with all other trauma. Thanks for any comment you may have. Cheers Lisa, and thanks again for this. Critically important….

  2. Kyczy says:

    Lisa – this is so important – I witness the vestiges of this all the time. Thank you for your poignant and caring essay.

  3. I know you list was open ended. I would certainly count the trauma of parental divorce among those. It seem in that and many other ways there is a lot more instances these days, or maybe it is spoken of more openly.

    • I agree – divorce – the kind where the parents take out their frustration, anger and resentments on the other through the children is terribly traumatic for a child. Thanks for adding your comment!

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