“An infant born into neglect learns slightly different lessons. For him, the bonding cycle is short circuited. Instead of experiencing need, high arousal, gratification, and trust in others, he experiences need, high arousal to the point of exhaustion, self-gratification, and trust in self/self-reliance. Eventually this child develops less need, less arousal, more immediate self-gratification, and no involvement with others. He is likely to develop habits to gratify himself that may include rocking, head banging, sucking on his hands, hair pulling, etc.. He may grow up detached from others, appearing vacant and empty. He has few emotions and desires no interaction from others, even acting if no others are present in a room.
He has effectively learned that he can —- and needs—– to trust himself.”- Adopting the Hurt Child
One of the most visible effects of trauma is how is how it affects the body – medically, through sensory processing issues, or detachment.
Humanism tells us that everything is done by the power of a man. It teaches that man is able to sustain himself without God, without the Spirit. Studies on attachment beg to differ. Man is not sufficient on his own. He can not sustain body, soul, and spirit alone. The spirit of the child vacates when there is no attachment.
“Infants deprived of their mothers during the first year of life for more than five months deteriorate progressively. They become lethargic, their motility retarded, their weight and growth arrested. Their face becomes vacuous; their activity is restricted to atypical, bizarre finger movements. they are unable to sit, stand, walk or talk.”- Rene Spitz M.D.
Children who have been traumatized in infancy and early childhood cannot be expected to behave or respond to stimuli in the same way as children who have not.
Body –altered physical development and impacted ability to process sensory inputs.
Dr. Dana Johnson has described developmental delays and growth disturbances as one month of linear growth loss for every three months that children remain in an orphanage.
What we see in the physical are:
- inability to process sensory inputs.
- Learning delays
- Developmental delays
Sensory Issues- may be mistaken for willfulness and defiance, may up frustrated and disconnected.
Sensory over responsivity- OH NO!- you touch him on the elbow and he flies off the handle.
Sensory under responsivity – Ho Hum…. The child reacts less intensely to stimuli than other children. Slumps.
Sensory Seeking- MORE! MORE! Craves stimulus/sensation. Vigorous activity.
Sensory discrimination dysfunction- HUH? Difficulty discerning input. Shorts in the winter. Pants and cowboy boots when it is 90. Doesn’t know how he got that scrape.
Most kids who have experienced trauma have some sensory issues. This doesn’t mean they need an official diagnosis of SPD. A great resource if you want to know more is The Out of Sync Child.