Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Lindell, Mary


Adverse childhood experiences have been found to increase the likelihood of immediate and long-term negative impacts on children. Adverse childhood experiences are complex traumatic events that can produce a powerful stress response in a child’s brain and body, which has the potential to influence their development. Children with adverse traumatic experiences are at an increased risk for altered neurodevelopment due to the influence of toxic stress. Research has shown this altered development to be associated with many negative outcomes, including adopting health risk behaviors, disease, behavior problems, and social, emotional and cognitive impairment. These negative outcomes have the potential to impact children and their performance in school. Children with complex traumatic experiences are at greater risk for increased learning and behavior problems, decreased executive functioning skills, lower academic performance and engagement decreased social competencies and increased academic risk behaviors. It’s imperative that teachers are aware of the potential impact adverse childhood experiences have on children and seek to understand how to best support students dealing with complex trauma.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis