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This presentation will explore the impact of trauma and adversity on young children, from infancy through preschool age. The presenter will use didactic as well as vignette to illustrate ways in which children are affected by trauma, do remember, and can be supported in communicating about—and healing from—their experiences.

Learning Objectives: Upon completion of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Identify and explain at least 4 ways trauma impacts the young child’s developing brain, including cognitive, emotional, social, and language development.
  • Name and describe at least 3 common ways in which trauma symptoms present in infants and young children.
  • Articulate at least 2 ways of supporting a young child’s healing from traumatic experiences.


Mary Wise, LCSW, is clinical faculty with the NC Child Treatment Program at the Center for Child & Family Health and a PhD candidate at the Smith College School for Social Work. Her clinical expertise is in early childhood trauma and mental health assessment and treatment, and she provides clinical and reflective supervision at CCFH, as well as clinical consultation to external trainees. She is on Zero to Three’s Expert Faculty Roster as a trainer for DC:0-5™, the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood. Her current research focuses on grief and bereavement during early childhood



  • Van der Kolk, B. (2006). Clinical implications of neuroscience research in PTSD. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1071, 1-17.
  • Zero to Six Collaborative Group, National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2010). Early childhood trauma. Los Angeles, CA & Durham, NC: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.
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