Someone explained to me recently that the word “trauma” is used so much today that it has become a cliche; it has lost its meaning. Perhaps we call what isn’t necessarily traumatic “trauma,” and thereby render the word meaningless even when used appropriately. So what do I mean as a trauma healing specialist, when I use the word? I mean an encounter with the possibility of death, an experience of terror that leaves us with the sense, the knowing, that we could die at any moment. This is what traumatized people, including our children, thereafter believe, not only that death is possible but also likely, and whether we live or die is beyond our control. A traumatized child in school trying to concentrate on reading, writing, and arithmetic is at a disadvantage we are only beginning to understand. The number of children coming to school traumatized is a number growing so vast we are tempted to deny it, minimize it, or ignore it altogether. We don’t have to. As parents and educators alike, we have all we need to help these children, we just have to want to know what’s really going on. And I have to tell you, it’s not just tough times.

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