Module 2 /Post 4: Trauma in early children and its effects on later development
As a follow-up post of this module’s first post, this records a number of articles and journals about the impact of trauma on aboriginal children’s early childhood. “Social Determinants of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing” identified that risk factors to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people include widespread grief and loss, child removals and unresolved trauma, cultural dislocation and identity issues, economic and social disadvantage, physical health problems, child removal by care and protection orders and juvenile justice supervision, some of which found most vulnerable in numerous indigenous contexts.
Analysis of data from the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS) found that “Indigenous people who reported that they had been removed from their families had lower general mental health and vitality, and were more likely to experience psychological stress than the overall Indigenous population.” (Dockery 2011) Studies have shown that native language competence and participation in cultural activities can be powerful measures to protect children against mental health problems. Based on report of “Aboriginal language and youth suicide” from Aboriginal communities in British Columbia, “at least half of the members reported a conversational knowledge of their own language experience d no or very low numbers of youth suicides over the period for which data were available” (Hallett et al. 2007). Along these lines, the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey also found that children whose carers are Aboriginal language speakers are at lower risk of emotional or behavioural difficulties (Zubrick et al. 2005).