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Complex Trauma: Facts for Educators

A resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Complex trauma can have devastating emotional, behavioral, social, and cognitive effects on students of all ages. Students' confidence and ability to cope with stress and change are also affected. These students may believe they are incapable of succeeding in school and are more likely to give up when faced with challenging tasks—or they may avoid tasks altogether. Relationships with peers, teachers, and school personnel are affected as students struggle to navigate social interactions and comply with rules and authority. Learning and behavioral difficulties may pose significant challenges for teachers and interfere with student achievement. If their trauma is not addressed, children with histories of complex trauma have difficulty experiencing success in school.