NUMB/FREEZE/WITHDRAWN

Children who have experienced trauma may ‘freeze’ which a primitive survival method. You might see that the child appears to be withdrawn or ridgid in their responses, gives less eye contact or generally seeming to be disconnected in the moment. In these situations a childs brain is releasing chemicals to ‘numb’ and try to reduce the overwhelming sensation of pain caused from the emotional memories of the traumatic experience. A child might seem to be in a ‘fog’ and as though they are trapped in a situation so an warm response from an adult is key to helping them feel safe and distratced.

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What are the most helpful things we can do?

  • Keep the child interested with something funny or distracting

  • Don’t tell the child to snap out of it or startle them

  • See if the child would like a drink, a little snack or a toy to play with as this may help them feel comforted