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stress and trauma

the evening news
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The attack in Nice, France.

The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

Michael Rosenstein / flickr

I've learned a lot through my reporting on State of Opportunity, but the thing that really changed how I see almost every other issue is what I've learned about the effect of trauma on kids' brains (helpful backgrounder here for those of you wanting to know more). 

Up until a few years ago I'd missed this important work. I don't think I'm alone in that.

If we want better school outcomes let's pay attention to Iowa

Mar 27, 2015
Yoga Foster / flickr

One kid’s trauma can be a lot to handle. Managing a whole school of kids who have been traumatized  can seem insurmountable. These kids are more likely to act out in class, have attendance problems, and get lower grades than their peers.

Sharyn Morrow / Flickr

Dr. Vincent Felitti, father of the seminal Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study that has informed so much of State of Opportunity’s reporting and recently this NPR series, was recently in Michigan for a conference on how adverse childhood experiences affect health.

5 things to know about childhood trauma

Dec 5, 2014
leeroy09481 / flickr

To educate our readers and avoid being redundant, we're creating a series of "explainer" posts on the topics we refer to a lot. This is one of them.

When kids bring trauma to school with them

Nov 20, 2014
Krissy Venosdale / Flickr

There’s a reason we talk about trauma so much at State of Opportunity: It has a huge impact on kids.

When we say “trauma," we’re referring to a child’s emotional response to an absolutely terrible event, like witnessing violence or living with an alcoholic parent – two examples of traumatic experiences described in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (and ACES test) we reported on earlier this year.

Nadine Burke Harris

State of Opportunity will air a documentary on foster care on Thursday, October 30th. In the lead up to Thursday we're publishing a series of articles that explore specific aspects of the foster care system or challenges kids within that system face.

America is in the middle of a collective, and scientifically supported, epiphany about just how much early childhood experiences matter to outcomes later in life.

Childhood trauma knows no geographical boundaries

Feb 11, 2014
Freedom House / Flickr

Monday's Morning Edition broadcast featured an interview with 23-year-old Amina Salwan, a survivor of chemical attacks in Syria. In her conversation with Steve Inskeep she described the gassing incident that impacted her area and neighbors. But what was also striking was her description of working with traumatized children of the civil war. 

charlie and his family
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This story has been updated to reflect new information. 

Our State of Opportunity project has been following the story of a little boy named Charlie. His dad was scheduled to be deported this week and his school was scrambling to figure out how to support him.  But today things changed. Charlie’s dad, Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo was granted a stay of removal this afternoon. That means he has another year to make the case he should be allowed to stay in the United States.  

Until today, in the neighborhood surrounding this Ann Arbor elementary flyers have been urgently circulating, passed out by parents and others trying to stop the deportation. At the center of all the activity is one seven year old boy who up until today thought he was going to lose his dad.

Nadine Burke Harris

How We Talk about Trauma

Usually we think of childhood trauma in terms of the social and emotional issues that can manifest later in life. Which certainly are significant.  But what we’re learning now is that exposure to early adversity has significant impacts on physical health outcomes, and represents a public health crisis.

Try to imagine this.  It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Beautiful day. 

You’re hiking alone in the forest.  And then you hear some rustling leaves behind you. 

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