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Information about Student Trauma for Parents and Staff

Common Trauma Reactions:

  • Tremendous fear and anxiety
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Cognitive dysfunction involving memory and learning
  • Changes in behavior, including increased irritability and aggression
  • Other Common Reactions:

Survivor guilt

  • Physical health complaints and/or eating disturbances
  • Flashbacks
  • Traumatic dreams and/or sleep disturbances
  • Age regression (acting younger)
  • Startling easily
  • Detachment, "spaciness"

What to Do as a Parent or Staff Member:

  • Recognize the signs of trauma
  • Be patient
  • Provide security
  • Nurture at what may seem like the level for a younger child
  • Listen - follow the child's lead in discussion, correct misconceptions
  • Recognize your own emotions - avoid transmitting additional anxiety through long or unnecessary discussions
  • Limit the media of graphic events
  • Keep to a "normal" routine to establish that life goes on
  • Trauma reactions are "normal", but be on the lookout for worsening reactions, particularly among those who have been previously traumatized or who have pre-existing emotional conditions. Seek consultation from a mental health provider if conditions worsen
  • Take care of your own mental health as an adult - you have needs, too

Compiled from: Madison Metropolitan School District Crisis Response Procedures.