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Shannon Dorsey was quoted in this Gizmodo article about trauma and children’s brains.

Trauma Disrupts Children's Brains—but Researchers Are Finding New Ways to Help Them Heal 

Jackie Rocheleau


According to 2018 reports from child welfare agencies, about 678,000 U.S. children experienced neglect or abuse, with Black and Native American children overrepresented among child maltreatment cases. By age 16, over two-thirds of children experience at least one traumatic event, an event that threatened death, major injury, or sexual violence. Responsive caregivers are key to protecting and helping children recover from the resulting toxic stress.

Knowing this, Mary Dozier, a professor of psychology specializing in child development at the University of Delaware, created an intervention for infants and toddlers that targeted parents. Sometimes she’d hear foster parents report that their newly placed foster children appeared to be adjusting perfectly fine.

“And I thought that that’s impossible,” said Dozier. “What is happening here that we’re not seeing behaviorally?”

These foster parents reminded Dozier of early research with animals that showed that even when young monkeys who had been separated from their mothers stopped crying, their bodies betrayed their stress as high cortisol levels persisted. Even if a child appears calm, stress might be boiling beneath the surface. “They might be upset, but they’re not showing symptoms that draw parents in for support,” said Shannon Dorsey, a psychology professor at the University of Washington.

Read the entire article here.