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Children and Trauma

Reactions from children to traumatic events depend on their age and level of development. A child’s reaction to trauma can be that of helplessness, fear that extends beyond the traumatic event, anxiety or their reactions may be physical.

Children may experience sleep disturbances by not being able to fall asleep by themselves or stay asleep. They may experience nightmares or night terrors. They may be fearful of attending school because they are unable to be separated from their parents. They may develop eating disorders and try to isolate themselves. They may be concerned over their own safety or the safety of their family members. Children may complain of headaches or stomach aches and their normal behavior in school or at home may change.

Some children will not want to talk about the traumatic event while others are preoccupied by retelling the story. It is important to allow children to express themselves in a healthy manner and to provide a way for the child to talk to a trained professional to help them understand what has happened to them and why they are having feelings and emotions that they did not have before the traumatic event. You may want to notify their school administrator and alert them to what has happened.

Talk to your advocate or an advocate through your local Victim Service Program and ask how you can receive financial assistance with counseling /therapy expenses by submitting a claim for those costs to the Victims Compensation Assistance Program.