Research indicates that complex trauma often causes changes in brain integration and organization which results in delays in development in many areas. The evidence is clear that children who have suffered from complex trauma are often impacted in the following 7 Developmental Domains:

Below you will find a list of items that may be helpful for your child. Each item has been specifically chosen by our team of trauma-informed therapists to help with one or more developmental domains listed above. 

The items below are broken down into easy-to-understand categories that parents, teachers and caregivers often ask our team about. 

If you would like more information about how to best support a child who has endured adverse childhood experiences, please contact our clinical team to learn how your child scores among the 7 Developmental Domains

DOES YOUR CHILD STRUGGLE WITH SLEEP?

Children who have had difficult experiences early in life, especially between 0-2 years, often have difficulty with sleep. Early adverse childhood experiences impact the neurological wiring of the brain which can affect the sleep cycle (i.e. falling asleep, waking up multiple times and/or flipping and flopping throughout the night).

Product NameImageDescriptionBuy Now
Dream Pad Pillow

Many children who have experienced complex trauma have difficulty sleeping. The Dreampad pillow plays soothing music with gentle vibrations, which encourages the nervous system to relax and thereby allowing our children to calm down and sleep peacefully.

White Noise & Sound Machine

A sound generator is often helpful in helping children who are highly aroused. Using sounds that provide patterned, repetitive and rhythmic stimulation will sooth the brain and help children fall and stay asleep throughout the night. This sound generator allows you to choose from 20 sounds and operates on rechargeable batteries so you can take it with you anywhere you need to go.

Puppy Heartbeat Stuffy

While this toy may be designed for puppies, we have had success in using it with children. The puppy stuffy provides a soothing “real feel” of a warm heartbeat and can be cuddled and snuggled with throughout the night. For children who are anxious, appear distractible, or have difficulty sleeping, this heart beat puppy stuffy provides patterned, repetitive stimulation that may help regulate your child’s nervous system enabling your child to experience a deeper and more restful sleep.

Weighted Blanket

For some children a weighted blanket feels soothing and encourages their body to calm down and sleep through the night. May be helpful for children who are typically restless at night or frequently wake up at night.

Sensory Compression Bed Sheet

For children who like deep pressure but get too hot at night, a sensory compression sheet wraps tightly around the mattress to provide deep sensory pressure, without the weight. Can stimulate the feeling of being hugged or held and may be helpful for kids who seek sensory input.

DOES YOUR CHILD PRESENT WITH “ADHD-LIKE” BEHAVIOURS?

This is often where educators want to start! To the adult observer, the child may appear to have excess energy, unable to sit still, constantly seeking stimulation, and difficulty taking in information. In this state, it is extremely difficult to regulate and be receptive to learning. Complex trauma research indicates that children who have been exposed to adverse childhood experiences have physiological changes in their brain and body that make it extremely difficult to control impulses and be present. If you can imagine living in the child’s body, they are often sitting at the top of the stress staircase. The main focus is for the adult to help the child (co-regulate) move down the stress staircase before learning can happen.

Product NameImageDescriptionBuy Now
Figit for your Digit

Helps keep busy hands occupied; gently massages fingers; can reduce stress and help with excess energy.

Sit and Move Cushion

Engages core muscles to maintain balance to help get the extra wiggles and energy out.

Elastic Bands for Chair Legs

Elastic bands placed on the bottom of chair legs can be helpful to expend excess energy.  The thicker the band, the more energy the child will expend.

Hokki/Wobble Chairs

For children who need to move, a wobble chair allows movement while seated at a table.

Weighted Animals

Weighted stuffed animals have a therapeutic benefit in alleviating excess energy, supporting with attention, and helping to calm the nervous system (i.e. come down the stress staircase).

DOES YOUR CHILD STRUGGLE WITH ANXIOUS ENERGY?

Anxiety is a normal part of our everyday lives.  It becomes a problem when it interferes with day to day functioning. When children are overwhelmed, their brain and body can go into fight, flight or freeze mode. Children who have experienced complex trauma have learned that their fight, flight, freeze responses were once adaptive ways to cope during the adversity and will require support to learn new healthy ways to cope with stress. The following tools are often helpful in calming anxious energy.

Product NameImageDescriptionBuy Now
Book – Lost at school – Dr. Ross Greene

Book - Calm, Alert, and Learning - Dr. Stuart Shanker

Animal Breathing: Breathe Up Wonder Pup book

“Me” Bag or Calming Kit

A “me” bag or calming kit can help children focus on their 5 senses bringing them into the here and now.  This kit could be kept in a cozy space in the home or classroom.  The following items are examples of what could be added. A mirror with an erasable marker, textures (i.e. fur, bubble wrap, etc.), feather (for breathing), favourite books, a picture of a loved one, a stuffed animal, a rock, aromatherapy scents, snack.

Egg/Pod Chair

Create a safe cozy space – this can be a mini tent or you can create your own by using a large box!

Body Socks

Body/Sensory Socks can help increase body awareness, motor planning skills, and decrease stress through deep pressure simulation.

Oral Motor Chews

Oral motor chews can be helpful for children who have sensory needs.  This tool helps reduce anxiety and stress.  They provide a safe alternative to chewing on hands, pens, clothing, and other objects.

Breathing Ball/Hoberman Sphere

Deep breathing helps calm the brain and body by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. Visual learners can benefit from a visual and physical experience like Hoberman Sphere which opens up as the child breathes in and closes while the child breathes out.  Watch this link to demonstrate how to use Hoberman Sphere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnNATiWYyx0

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty

Looking for a way to get into here and now? Crazy Aaron’s thinking putty helps the brain relax and opens up creative thinking. This putty bounces, bends, tears, stretches, snaps and pops!

DOES YOUR CHILD STRUGGLE WITH LOW ENERGY/SYMPTOMS SIMILAR TO DEPRESSION?

Some children or teens who have been through complex trauma display symptoms similar to depression, such as low energy, low motivation, low mood, narrow range of emotions, and sleeping a lot. The following tools and recommendations are focused on increasing physiological arousal within the child’s body to increase mental and physical well-being. It is often helpful to have areas at home and school that children/teens can access when needing to rev up their energy.

Product NameImageBuy Now
Jump rope
Pogo Jumper
Mini indoor trampoline

DOES YOUR CHILD STRUGGLE WITH SHAME/LOW SELF-ESTEEM?

Many children who have had complex trauma struggle with shame. We all come into the world dependent on our caregivers for protection and love. We learn about ourselves through our experiences with our primary caregivers. For children who have been hurt (abused, neglected, had inconsistent caregiving) by their primary caregivers this often instills a deep sense of “I’m broke” or “I’m unloveable” in the child. The presentation of shame can look like “bravado”, “grandiose”, low self-esteem, defiance, sabotaging relationships, perfectionism, or breaking toys of self or others, stealing, and “storytelling” (lying). Combating shame is hard work and takes years of consistent and persistent love.

Product NameImageBuy Now
Buoyancy: Building Resilient Kids Lesson Plans - Dr. Kirk Austin
Book - Discipline Without Damage - Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Book - Parenting Right From the Start - Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Book - Attachment Focused Parenting - Dan Hughes
Book - Building the bonds of attachment - Dan Hughes
Book - Nurturing Adoptions - Deborah Gray
Book - The Whole Brain Child - Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Book - Parenting From The Inside Out - Dr. Dan Siegel
Book - The Explosive Child - Dr. Ross Greene
Book - The Explosive Child - Dr. Ross Greene
The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog – Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz

DOES YOUR CHILD STRUGGLE WITH LEARNING/RECOGNIZING EMOTIONS, HOW TO REGULATE, AND SOCIAL SITUATIONS?

Often children who have had complex trauma struggle with emotions; be that, recognizing emotions within themselves and others, regulating their emotions, and understanding social cues and navigating social situations. Children will do what you do before they do what you say. The following tools are suggested for the adult to utilize with the child, because co-regulation is key for successful learning.

Product NameImageDescriptionBuy Now
Buoyancy: Building Resilient Kids Lesson Plans - Dr. Kirk Austin

Buoyancy: Building Resilient Kids - Dr. Kirk Austin

Book - Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia

Book - Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg

Book - The Bad Seed by Jory John

Book - The Good Egg by Jory John

Book - I Can Handle It! by Laurie Wright

Book - Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook

Book - Calm Down Boris! By Sam Lloyd

Book - 1-2-3 A Calmer Me by Colleen Patterson

Book - How Full is Your Bucket? By Tom Wrath & Mary Reckmeyer

Book - Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McLoud

Book - The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neil

Book - King of the Playground by Phillis Naylor

Book - Dealing With Feeling Jealous by Isabel Thomas

Book - Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook

Book - But It’s Just a Game by Julia Cook

Book - But It’s Not My Fault by Julia Cook

Book - I Just Don't Like the Sound of NO! by Julia Cook

Book - When I Feel Sad by Cornelia Spelman

Book - The Grouchies by Debbie Wagenbach

Book - Brave as Can Be: A Book of Courage by Jo Witek

Book - In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek

Book - I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson

Book - The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles

Book - The Loveables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem by Diana Loomas

Book - When I Feel Good About Myself by Cornelia Spelman

Book - F is For Feelings by Goldie Millar and Lisa Berger

Book - Be Who You Are by Todd Parr

Book - The Feel Good Book by Todd Parr

Book - It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

Book - The Feelings Book by Todd Parr

Book - The Way I Feel by Janan Cain

Mind Up Grades 6-8

Mind Up Grades 3-5

Mind Up pre K-2

Superflex: A Superhero Social Thinking Curriculum

Curriculum - The Zones of Regulation

Curriculum - The Incredible Years, Ages 3-8

Processing DeckProcessing Deck

The Processing Deck has 44 cards to help kids explore their thoughts and feelings with the goal of providing coping skills in different settings (e.g. traveling, at school, at restaurants etc.). It is most helpful if kids are accompanied by a supportive and trusted adult while they explore these cards.

Feeling Games

All emotions have corresponding needs; sadness needs comfort, fear needs protection, anger needs boundaries. Helping children who have had complex trauma identify their underlying emotional feeling is important to teach them to know what they need. My Feelings game provides 280 different scenarios to talk about their feelings and 260 different socially appropriate and healthy regulation strategies.

Feeling Cards

Helping children increase their emotional vocabulary by encouraging them to identify a range and depth of emotional states, is an important step is developing emotional regulation. Using feeling cards in a playful and developmentally appropriate way with children who have had complex trauma can increase their openness to talking about emotional states and increase their emotional literacy.

DOES YOUR CHILD STRUGGLE WITH LEARNING?

Often children who have experienced complex trauma struggle with learning. This can look like difficulty processing and remembering information, planning ahead, organizing, getting started, finishing tasks, getting lost with more than 1-2 instructions, transitioning to a new activity, difficulty with changes in plans, and becoming easily distracted. Often visual cues, simplifying, repetition, and slowing down can be incredibly helpful for children who struggle in this area.

Product NameImageDescriptionBuy Now
151 Piece Visual Cue Cards and Schedule

Visual cues are particularly helpful for young children who do not yet read, children who do not have strong language skills or solid memory systems, or children who have poor self-esteem or are easily distractible. In our experience visual schedules can set children up for success as they learn to master their day or what is expected of them through visual reminders.

Visual Schedule – Melissa and Doug Daily Schedule / Responsibility Magnet

Visual cues are particularly helpful for young children who do not yet read, children who do not have strong language skills or solid memory systems, or children who have poor self-esteem or are easily distractible. In our experience visual schedules can set children up for success as they learn to master their day or what is expected of them through visual reminders.

Ear Muffs

For children who get easily distracted, wearing ear muffs or noise cancelling headphones can be very helpful to increase focus. Ear muffs block out noise, whereas noise cancelling headphones use technology to pick up low-frequency noise and neutralize it before the sound reaches the ear. Additionally, with noise cancelling headphones you can utilize the bluetooth function to listen to calming music.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

For children who get easily distracted, wearing ear muffs or noise cancelling headphones can be very helpful to increase focus. Ear muffs block out noise, whereas noise cancelling headphones use technology to pick up low-frequency noise and neutralize it before the sound reaches the ear. Additionally, with noise cancelling headphones you can utilize the bluetooth function to listen to calming music.

Countdown Timer (Visual Learners)

A visual timer can be a great tool for children of all ages. Children who are anxious or hypervigilant may cope better with having to wait, or practice waiting with visual cues as they watch the time reduce. This timer has no ticking and no distractions, with an on/off optional alert for when the time is up.

BOOKS - MASTER COPY OF ALL PARENT AND USEFUL TRAUMA INFORMED BOOKS

Product NameImageBuy Now
Raising the Challenging Child by Karen Doyle Buckwalter, Debbie Reed, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
Buoyancy: Building Resilient Kids Lesson Plans - Dr. Kirk Austin
Buoyancy: Building Resilient Kids - Dr. Kirk Austin
Book - The Whole Brain Child - Dr. Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Book - Parenting From The Inside Out - Dr. Dan Siegel
Book - Calm, Alert, and Learning - Dr. Stuart Shanker
Book - The Connected Child: Bringing Hope and Healing To Your Adopted Family by Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
Book - The Circle of Security Intervention: Enhancing Attachment in Early Parent-Child Relationships. Bert Powell, Glen Cooper, Kent Hoffman and Bob Marvin
Book - Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children Bruce D. Perry MD PhD (Foreword), Cathy A. Malchiodi PhD ATR-BC LPCC (Editor)
Book - The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer
Book - The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself - Kristin Neff
Book - When the Body Says No - Dr. Gabor Mate
Book - Parenting Right From the Start - Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Book - Discipline Without Damage - Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Book - Building the bonds of attachment - Dan Hughes
Book - Attachment Focused Parenting - Dan Hughes
Book - The Explosive Child - Dr. Ross Greene
Book - Lost at school – Dr. Ross Greene
Book - Nurturing Adoptions - Deborah Gray
Book - Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models by Julian Ford and Christine Courtois
Book - Kids these days - Dr. Jody Carrington
Book - Rising Strong - Brene Brown
Book - The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel
The Boy Who Was Raised As a Dog – Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz

CHILDREN’S BOOKS – RECOGNIZING, UNDERSTANDING OR REGULATING EMOTIONS

Product NameImageBuy Now
Book: Listen Up, Wonder Pup by Angela Murphy
Buoyancy: Building Resilient Kids Lesson Plans - Dr. Kirk Austin
Book - The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
Book - My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook
Book - The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Book - Breathe Up, Wonder Pup by Angela Murphy
Book - Speak Up Wonder Pup by Angela Murphy
Book - Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia
Book - Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
Book - The Bad Seed by Jory John
Book - The Good Egg by Jory John
Book - I Can Handle It! by Laurie Wright
Book - Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook
Book - Calm Down Boris! By Sam Lloyd
Book - 1-2-3 A Calmer Me by Colleen Patterson
Book - How Full is Your Bucket? By Tom Wrath & Mary Reckmeyer
Book - Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McLoud
Book - The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neil
Book - King of the Playground by Phillis Naylor
Book - Dealing With Feeling Jealous by Isabel Thomas
Book - Wilma Jean the Worry Machine by Julia Cook
Book - But It’s Just a Game by Julia Cook
Book - But It’s Not My Fault by Julia Cook
Book - I Just Don't Like the Sound of NO! by Julia Cook
Book - When I Feel Sad by Cornelia Spelman
Book - The Grouchies by Debbie Wagenbach
Book - Brave as Can Be: A Book of Courage by Jo Witek
Book - In My Heart: A Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
Book - I Like Me! by Nancy Carlson
Book - The Selfish Crocodile by Faustin Charles
Book - The Loveables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem by Diana Loomas
Book - When I Feel Good About Myself by Cornelia Spelman
Book - F is For Feelings by Goldie Millar and Lisa Berger
Book - Be Who You Are by Todd Parr
Book - The Feel Good Book by Todd Parr
Book - It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr
Book - The Feelings Book by Todd Parr