by Dr. Will Henson
The short answer is, you don’t. And you may not. But the fact is that 45% of kids entering school today have enough early adverse experiences to impact their thinking, feeling and behavior. The good thing is that trauma-informed interventions work with everyone, even kids with no ACEs whatsoever.
Trauma-informed practices are about helping people feel safe and supported. While this is important for everyone it’s especially important when working with children who have early adverse experiences. Trauma-informed practices are supportive and designed to make people stronger by building resilience, creating relationships and providing structure, predictability and a path to success.
Trauma-informed practices also seek to avoid cycles of discipline and negative adult interactions that only serve to retraumatize kids and disrupt progress. While traditional discipline may work with some kids, it only works with those who have the internal skills and regulatory abilities to respond to it. These students will respond well to other approaches as well.
So, in the long run, you may not know who has experienced trauma, but you can bet that a trauma-informed staff will be able to help everyone!