When a child is too little to tell you what’s wrong, sometimes our good intentions to help backfire. With people mistakenly diagnosing traumatized kids with developmental or sensory issues, the root cause of a child’s problem goes ignored and untreated.
Identifying victims of trauma is a lot harder than it looks and goes beyond looking for bruises. Now, Connecticut is shaping up and is making sure this happens less and less, especially in infants and toddlers.
CT Mirror reports that Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, a Farmington-based nonprofit, is expanding efforts to train child care providers to identify potential victims of trauma. By teaching these workers how to recognize the more implicit signs of trauma – like stealing or hoarding food – those children will have a better chance at a brighter future by getting them the help they need.
The training program has been given a $2 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The state admits there is a huge gap when it comes to wrongly identifying traumatized young children and is serious about closing it. While schools are adequately prepared to deal with emotionally disturbed children, the state recognizes it can alleviate a relatively large burden by focusing on early intervention.
Jason Lang, a psychologist with an expertise in trauma at the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut, says its imperative the state moves quickly, “Many times what happens is that kids aren’t identified until they hit school or even beyond kindergarten or first grade, and often by that time, problems have worsened.”
A child can become traumatized by many scenarios, from domestic violence, homelessness, sexual abuse, and parental drug use. These traumas have lasting effects on the child that may inhibit them as they grow older and try to connect with their peers.
Lang says by identifying these traumas early, it could “prevent some of the more severe behaviors from happening down the line.”