Trauma – Adverse Childhood Experiences & Developmental Delays

“When a child is exposed to severe, frequent, and unrelenting stress without the buffering protection of adult support, it can profoundly impact the body’s stress response systems. Such prolonged stress may result in the disruption of typical brain development and chemistry. This type of stress is called toxic stress. Toxic stress can be the result of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)-such as child abuse, neglect, and repeated exposure to household dysfunction-as well as other traumatic events. ACEs have a strong and cumulative impact on the health and functioning of persons throughout their lives.”

The definition of “at risk” is broad and covers a wide variety of stressors faced by children and parents at Southside. Of the children served in 2017:

  • 95% were at highest risk for physical, emotional, or sexual abuse and neglect, identified with two or more risk indicators
  • 80% experienced developmental delays in
    • speech and language
    • fine/gross motor coordination, and
    • problem solving skills.
  • Because of traumatic experiences, many children in our program exhibit severe emotional challenges:
    • low self-esteem
    • immature socialization skills, and/or
    • significant mistrust of adults