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Wave trust on the Trauma Informed Practice.

A Trauma-Informed Approach aims to transform the communication techniques used within institutions. The training event delivered by the WAVE trust showed how reframing communication in such a way is a necessary action point backed up by scientific evidence and impressive statistics where such techniques have been implemented by current projects.

Viewing every interaction through a trauma informed lens can transform all of our relationships. It not only benefits those who have been victim to extreme adverse experiences but also increases the level of positive engagement from those who have not. Going into interactions equipped with such a lens helps explain and deal with previously inexplicable behaviour. Allowing practitioners to separate difficult behaviour from the individual; helping to maintain their empathy in hard to navigate situations. In the trauma informed context, behaviours which once seemed to be ‘troublesome’ and led to two dimensional punitive reactions appear more clearly as wounds and symptoms in someone that needs to be treated in the right way to help them heal.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) affect more people than most would expect. A higher individual score of ACEs correlates strongly with poorer physical and mental health in later life. People with 6 or more ACEs, statistically die up to 20 years earlier.

In a class of 30 children the teacher is likely to encounter at least 15 children who have experienced at least one ACE, and 4 who have experienced four or more. These figures may vary with area or demographic and since dealing with traumatised children for teachers and staff is a daily reality, practitioners should be trained accordingly to cater appropriately to everyone’s needs. Specifically to help end intergenerational disadvantage that can follow people with ACEs.

St Cuthbert’s Primary ACE Pathfinder School are reaping the benefits of the framework. Not only have the standards improved for all children, with achievement now above the national averages for reading, writing and maths. The most vulnerable pupils are now making 51% better than expected progress since their social, emotional and mental health needs were addressed.

WAVE is currently also pushing for the 70/30 initiative to be taken up more widely.

Since 1 in 5 of us will have experienced ACEs. 70/30 focuses on preventing adverse childhood experiences in the first place by raising awareness on paths to children’s wellbeing and aiming to normalise the culture of going to parenting courses to a point where it is the norm to have attended one before having a child.

Follow the links below to read more about WAVE’s work and the 70/30 project.


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