A study of over 1,000 children has shown that childhood trauma contributes to school struggles, and to struggles later in life.
The study showed that children with traumatic experiences up until age 5 had difficulties in kindergarten with reading and math, and were more likely to have problems with focus, social and aggression problems.
The traumatic experiences included living in a home where domestic abuse occurred, or neglect, or physical, psychological or sexual abuse. They also included living in a home where a household member was incarcerated, mentally ill, or had a substance abuse problem.
“The first five years of a child’s life are an incredible time of opportunity and vulnerability,” said study lead author Dr. Manuel Jimenez, director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics education at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J. “Combined with previous work documenting how early traumatic experiences are tied to poor health, these findings illustrate how early adversity can place children at risk for poor outcomes across multiple aspects of life.”