The aim of Multiplying Connections is to promote positive development for all children, especially those who have been traumatized by repeated exposure to violence, abuse and neglect. To accomplish this aim, we offer training to children’s services professionals on the impact of trauma on development; how to recognize children’s reactions to trauma; and how to promote healing through trauma informed care. This guide is designed to supplement the information and skills learned in the Becoming Trauma Informed course by providing you with specific:
With a little practice, all of these strategies can easily be implemented and integrated into your daily work and they do not require any special clinical training.
Since childhood trauma is “any physical or physiological threat or assault to a child’s physical integrity, sense of self, safety or survival or to the physical safety of another person significant to the children”, the overall goal of all of these interventions is to increase a child’s sense of self, safety, stability, and positive connections with others.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for a child who has been affected by trauma is to create a positive, nurturing relationship with him. Research has repeatedly shown that secure relationships with adults provide the foundational architecture for healthy development and help all children feel safe, stable and develop a sense of self. For children who are affected by trauma these types of relationships and experiences help children function in a ‘normal’ state of arousal (as opposed to hyper-arousal or disassociation, common states for traumatized children). Operating at a normal state of arousal is crucial for proper brain development and for creating the optimal brain state for learning.
The interventions in this guide are helpful for ALL children because they expose them to positive experiences that promote healthy brain development. Children who experience trauma, however, need more deliberate and more frequent exposure to these interventions because their exposure to such positive experiences has often been limited and curtailed.
Repeated positive experiences enable children affected by trauma to develop new neural path ways in their brains, increasing the opportunity for healthy development and growth. As clinician David Bath points out, children affected by trauma have stress response systems that have fundamentally changed; they “focus on the need to ensure safety rather than on the many growth-promoting interests and activities that secure children find attractive and stimulating” (Bath, p.5). For maximum effectiveness, these interventions, particularly the techniques and environmental changes, need to be done continually, on a permanent basis. Doing so takes practice and patience. It also takes advanced planning, but over time it will become intuitive.
In the video series “Helping Traumatized Children” neuroscientist Bruce Perry, MD, outlines the five most important things adults can do to help children who are traumatized: Stay and teach CALM, be ATTUNED, PRESENT, and PREDICTABLE and DON’T let children’s emotions escalate your own.
We have created the mnemonic CAPPD to help you remember these skills. All the activities, techniques, and environmental changes in this guide incorporate one or more of the five principles of CAPPD:
We hope you will find these interventions informative and useful. Please let us know how you are using CAPPD in your work and if you have further questions or comments!