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Children exposed to trauma early on have higher chance of delays in development

Posted at 7:36 AM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 08:36:33-05

Studies show that young children who are exposed to five or more significant adverse experiences in their first three years of life face a 76 percent likelihood of having one or more delays in their language, emotional, or brain development. But there are ways to rise above the trauma.

More than a quarter of kids in the U.S. will witness or experience a traumatic event before they turn four years old. But a new study shows some strategies that can help kids cope with their painful past.

Researchers at the University of Memphis looked at 161 college students who experienced physical violence or sexual abuse during childhood. They found certain factors, like greater family support, optimism, and positive religious coping, were associated with higher resilience among the participants. The study suggests that parents who provide positive support, such as listening and fostering a caring, open and supportive relationship, could help children bounce back from adversity. It’s a finding that may offer families new ways to help victims heal.

About 60 percent of adults report experiencing abuse or other difficult family circumstances during childhood. Being exposed to these types of experiences increases the risk of depression, suicide, and substance abuse.

If you or someone you know have been exposed to trauma and want to seek help, click here for contacts to the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse. Or click here to learn more about the Wisconsin Trauma Project.