Traumatized children experience the world much differently than their peers and teachers (Cole et al., 2005). Whereas peers and teachers see school as a place of friendship and opportunity, traumatized children are focused solely on avoiding perceived threat and danger (van der Kolb, 2005 ).
Fear is a way of life for these children. Survival responses that for most children are rare, occurring only in extraordinary circumstances, are the norm for these children, characterizing all their behavior. As a result, the areas of the brain controlling the fear response become over developed (Perry, et al., 1995).
This habitual stress reaction interferes with academic learning by inhibiting the areas of the brain that are active only in calm states ( Perry, 2002 ). As a result, the child is unable to attend to what is being taught. Hyper-vigilance and impulsivity inhibit his ability to learn and attend.