Child Traumatic Stress

Try One Kind Word

All of us have been there. You are in a hospital reception area, riding public transit, or some other public gathering space. You see a parent telling a young child they are stupid or to shut up or is yanking their arm forcefully. It’s not rising to the level of “child abuse” for reporting purposes, but in your heart you know that those small, daily acts of violence can add up and have a real impact on that child’s development and well-being. You want to intervene for that child but you don’t know how or what would be helpful. Read how one kind word or gesture could help defuse the situation.

Leaving College with a Career Plan

Read a guest blog post from Lindsay Zajac, a senior at Bucknell University, who shares her insights about her participation in the CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP) and working with the CIRP@ CHOP team.

Posttraumatic Stress After Pediatric Injury: What Practitioners Should Know

As a pediatric nurse, I know that the impact of injury for children and parents can sometimes go beyond the physical wound and that a full recovery can require more than the excellent medical care we now know how to provide. According to a recent research review in JAMA: Pediatrics by my colleague, Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD, a substantial body of research shows that posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms are common after pediatric injury and that these symptoms can affect a child’s physical and functional recovery. As pediatric health practitioners, we play a crucial role in recognizing and addressing PTS reactions in our injured patients.Here's what you can do.

Coming to Terms with Trauma

Something we focus on in our Post-injury Care and Recovery research at CIRP@CHOP is the difference between everyday stressors and more serious traumatic stress reactions that can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This difference is uniquely explored in a recent New York Times article by psychiatrist and author Mark Epstein entitled, “The Trauma of Being Alive."

Repair the World or Stop It From Breaking?

The three-year old boy had a low grade fever and runny nose. Mom was sleeping in the corner of the room when I came in and barely awakened when I knocked on the door. Our conversation was short and to the point as I went through my routine “it’s a virus, tincture of time” talk. Leaving the room, the mom asked me for a taxi voucher. She did not want to call Freddie’s father for a ride back. With one more question, easily skipped, I learned that she and the child’s father had been fighting about their son’s cough keeping him awake. Freddie’s father had kicked them out of the house to find a doctor to “fix him or I will fix him, and you.” Turns out that Freddie and his mom were living in a house of fear and uncertainty. We see kids like Freddie each day. Sometimes we can sense that something is off but are afraid to ask that next question. Oftentimes, we cannot see the problem until we ask the right questions. Emergency medical providers may not feel that learning about these issues is their role. The first part of addressing a “chronic illness” is recognizing it. The next time you get “that feeling” see what a few straightforward, respectful questions can reveal.

Envisioning Future of Pediatric Trauma Care

A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a summit of over 50 pediatric trauma specialists from across the country in Winston-Salem, NC. Our goal: to create a 10-year plan to improve pediatric trauma care in the areas of research, treatment, and education. CHOP was well represented at the Pediatric Trauma Summit.

Coping Coach: A Web-based Game to Help Children Recover

Millions of children experience injuries or sudden illnesses each year, leaving families to face challenging emotional reactions in addition to physical recovery. Unfortunately, there are very few resources available to support children through this recovery. To address this need, our team collaborated with colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia to develop a web-based game called Coping Coach – a fun, interactive way to help a large number of children with their emotional recovery.

Asking Kids About Traumatic Stress- Our Research

As clinicians or researchers, we often turn to parents to tell us how their child is faring emotionally. Parents are THE experts on their child, and are a great source of information about changes in a child’s usual behaviors. But research and clinical experience have shown that parents may not always grasp a child’s emotional symptoms. After a scary event, it is crucial to ask children directly about their own traumatic stress reactions.

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