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Wayne L. Klein, PhD

Neuropsychological Assessment of Children & Adults; Couples & Individual Psychotherapy Offices in Franklin, MA & Spaulding Center for Children, Sandwich, MA
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Child Trauma


Child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations and when this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope with what they have experienced.

What kinds of traumatic events are experienced by children?

Children are exposed to a wide range of trauma, including physical and sexual abuse, violence in families and communities, natural disasters and terrorism, accidental or violent death of a loved one, refugee and war experiences, and life-threatening injury and illness.

1 in 8 children (ages 2-17) have experienced a form of child maltreatment

8.8 million have witnessed interpersonal violence

67.8% of children (aged 9-16) experience at least one traumatic event by age 16

Over 60% of children (grades 4-12) in NYC public schools had experienced at least one traumatic event prior to 9/11

65.2% of Head Start children have been exposed to community violence and 46.7% have experienced child maltreatment or domestic violence


What are the Consequences of Child Trauma?

Post-traumatic stress and other disorders (depression, anxiety, phobia, panic)

Health effects

Poor academic performance; impaired cognitive development (e.g. IQ and language)

Impaired social development; decreased capacity to regulate emotion and attention

Substance use/abuse

Numbness, desensitization to threats

Subsequent victimization

Sources: National Survey of Adolescents, 2000; National Survey of Victimization of Children and Youth, 2005; Copeland et al., 2007; Hoven et al., 2005; Graham-Berman and Seng, 2005.