***Post written by Daniel Mayer, Public Relations Chair for WSPA***

The National Institute of Mental Health defines trauma as “the experience of an event by a child that is emotionally painful or distressful, which often results in lasting mental and physical effects.” The term adverse childhood experience (ACE) refers to a range of events that a child can experience that lead to stress and can result in trauma and chronic stress responses.

Chronic or persistent stress can impact a child’s developing brain and has been linked in numerous studies to a variety of high-risk behaviors, chronic diseases and negative health outcomes in adulthood, such as smoking, diabetes and heart disease. According to the CDC, adverse childhood experiences are broken down into three groups, including abuse, household challenges and neglect.

The presence of ACEs can lead to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions and low life potential or early death. Each child will handle various ACEs uniquely. The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative cites: “In 2016, 34 million children, nearly half of all U.S. children ages 0-17, had at least one of nine ACEs, and more than 20 percent experienced two or more.”

This technical assistance bulletin provides a basic understanding of the impact of trauma and adverse life experiences, how those experiences can impact behavior in the classroom, learning how to recognize trauma, and strategies for creating trauma-informed classrooms.

Keep in mind our summer conference plans. WSPA’s focus will be on best practices in schools for trauma-related issues. We have a commitment from Zachary Adams, Ph.D. from the University of Indiana to present on trauma-informed schools. As we know, schools in Wyoming are often the default mental health providers for children with trauma. WSPA was able to connect with Dr. Carla Danielson, a faculty member at the Medical University of South Carolina and national TFCBT trainer. Dr. Danielson proposed providing a training that would result in participants being qualified to provide TFCBT in their practice, even school practitioners.