Infant Mental Health, Trauma Informed Care
The first few years of a child’s life are a blueprint for their entire future mental and physical health. Addressing issues early means healthier children who will require less intervention later in life, and can reach their full potential. The Tykes & Teens Infant Mental Health Program is an evidence based program for children from birth to age 5 that can be implemented in the child’s home or in select childcare centers, in partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County.
Through a collaborative effort, Tykes & Teens provides training, therapy and mental health consultation on site and can help:
- Improve the child’s behavior and ability to regulate emotions
- Strengthen the relationship between the child and the parent or caregiver
- Heal from a traumatic experience for the parent or child that is interfering with a healthy attachment
- Avoid suspension or expulsion from child care or preschool
The Early Learning Coalition and Tykes and Teens have also begun a new project, where childcare sites will volunteer to become a Trauma-Informed organization with support from both organizations.
A Unique Approach
Trauma-informed care is a unique approach to learning that identifies the presence of trauma symptoms in an individual and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in their lives. Becoming a Trauma-Informed organization or system involves:
- Realizing the widespread impact of trauma and understanding potential paths for recovery
- Recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others
- Responding by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices
- Seeking to actively resist re-traumatization
- Renovating the environment
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
When children experience trauma, it impedes their ability to learn. Simply put, a child cannot learn when his brain is not calm. Further, when trauma goes untreated, it affects the child’s entire life, and paves the way for future unhealthy behaviors including drug and alcohol addiction and dropping out of school.
Trauma-Informed Care is an organizational structure and treatment framework that involves recognizing and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. As an organization promoting positive mental health, we believe it is of any community’s best interest to be aware of Trauma-Informed Care and the ways it can positively affect a child’s academic performance and mental health.
What are the benefits to becoming Trauma-Informed?
When instituted in schools, Trauma-Informed Care has been shown to:
• Reduce classroom disruptions
• Improve academic performance
• Increase graduation rates