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Children May Not Remember Trauma, But Their Bodies Do

Resilience film: children may not remember trauma, but their body does

For all of us, childhood is a time for exploring and learning about the world around us. During this period of innocence, however, researchers have discovered that traumatic experiences such as abuse and neglect are quite common. Kids who experience childhood trauma may not remember such negative experiences from a young age, but a new documentary called Resilience reveals that their bodies do.

The latest neuroscience tells us that trauma affects a child’s developing brain and impacts his or her behavior, biological development and even later-life health. Chronic exposure to abuse and neglect builds up elevated stress hormones in the brain. As this toxic stress continues to build over long periods of time, children are at risk for lifelong difficulties in learning, memory and regulating emotions. They are also much more likely than their peers to have chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, depression and more.

Watch the ‘Resilience’ trailer below:

The good news is that the brain can change, and it’s never too late for change to occur! The human brain is developing every second of every day, long into adulthood. It has the ability to grow stronger, learn how to solve complex problems and develop resiliency to bounce back after difficult situations. Many health, education and social welfare professionals are working to put science into action in order to change lives. We need to commit more resources towards treatment and prevention, which will require creating infrastructure and environments that give all people better, healthier options.

Learn more about how KVC is using neuroscience research to influence practice, policy and public decisions in order to help vulnerable children and families.


More about the film
Resilience was released at the Sundance Film Festival and is the latest movie from James Redford, director of Paper Tigers. The movie highlights the impact of toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the role of trauma-informed care in serving individuals who have been affected by toxic stress. The film will be available for pre-order starting August 22.