Now… this is no surprise to me. Those who have trauma have a change to the brain and that change can effect many other things.
I worked with a student on a research paper on the effects of poverty on academic achievement at the K-8 level and to no surprise we were able to contend (with support) that the stress of poverty on a child can change the way the child perceives the world and reacts to stress. As a result, the brain of the learner is fundamentally changed. This paper has been submitted for publication and will hopefully aid in the awareness that school counselors have when working with children in poverty.
So when I saw this post on npr I thought YES here is some support for this claim we’ve made. Please take a few moments to consider this for yourself.
From the report – “Chronic stress can cause deficiencies in the pre-frontal cortex, which is essential for learning.” The functions of the pre-frontal cortex are still not fully understood, but research has documented that damage to the pre-frontal cortex can effect planning, reasoning, and problem solving (Roberts, Robbins, & Weiskrantz, 1998) . Seems to me that all three of those are critical to learning. We know that the pre-frontal cortex develops until we are about 25 years old. So damage done before 25 can seemingly alter the trajectory of ‘normal’ human development. This damage can be physical damage, but could also be damage done by excess stress (or cortisol being released into the body to halt our alarm reaction) or dare I say medication inhibiting neurotransmitters? I don’t have the answer to the last one, but I suppose it is worth asking.