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The Developmental, Academic & Emotional Effects of Trauma: How the ACEs Study Informs the Biopsychosocial Approach to Trauma-Informed Schools

  • 28 May 2020
  • 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
  • This workshop will be delivered in two 90 minute Zoom sessions with a break in between parts 1 and 2


  • Available to Members of the Arizona Association of School Psychologists
  • Available to everyone
  • Available to students.

Registration is closed


Technology Needed by Attendees: You will have the best experience if you have high speed internet. You will need to see the screen projected and hear the audio so you should have a screen and speaker when you connect to Zoom. You will be muted and your video off for this participation. Registrants will be sent a unique password to enter the webinar. Questions will accepted through the chat function in the webinar. You must participate in both parts 1 and 2, and complete the evaluation in order to obtain the CPD certificate.

The biopsychosocial approach to the study of childhood complex trauma incorporates information about child development and brain growth as it relates to the environment and/or social context in which a child is growing. Regarding the identification and treatment of children with a history of physical or psychological trauma, scientific research tells us that repeated early childhood trauma exposure changes the architecture of the brain and may create oversensitivity to threat and later compromise planning and organization skill development. Not only does untreated early trauma affect neurodevelopment but it can also significantly alter appropriate psychosocial functioning, provide a basis for violence, and negatively affect life-long outcomes. Not only does untreated early trauma affect neurodevelopment but it can also significantly alter appropriate psychosocial functioning, provide a basis for violence, and negatively affect life-long outcomes. However, trauma-related responses in the brain, illuminated by recent but little known affective neuroscientific research, indicates that trauma responses are adaptive and helpful if understood and placed in context. If we drill down and truly understand the biological/homeostatic human emotional functioning, then we have the key to providing efficient and powerful assistance that optimizes adaptive functioning and we will be able to assist the transformation of trauma into resilience. There are generally four main lines of research that inform the biopsychosocial aspects of trauma-informed approaches for school psychologists: 1) brain development and toxic stress, 2) the neuroscience of emotion 3) educator self-care, and 4) biologically-informed trauma sensitive systems.

Human biopsychosocial systems are about homeostasis (survival) and homeostasis is about learning how to survive optimally. Trauma-informed schools are therefore fundamentally based on or about physical and psychological safety. Securing the physical plant, training crisis prevention and management, making the environment predictable, having predictable policies and procedures, fair and equitable management of negative behaviors, highlighting positive behaviors, positive support from the community, and centering the whole school/child experience around positive relationships are necessary conditions mandated by the human nervous system for optimal learning to take place. The more we learn about homeostatic neuroscience the more we will understand how to drive the design and sustainability of trauma-informed schools.

Presentation Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

1) Describe the key findings of the Adverse Childhood Events study as it relates to enacting a trauma sensitive approach to children in schools.

2) Describe the impact of childhood trauma on brain development and behavior.

3) Describe the components of trauma-informed schools.

4) Practice trauma-sensitive interactions with children in schools.

Presenter Bio:

Elaine Fletcher-Janzen, Ed.D., NCSP, ABPdN, obtained her doctorate in School Psychology from the College of William and Mary in 1993, and has been a school psychologist in the public schools, neuropsychiatric inpatient, and university settings for the past 36 years. Dr. Fletcher-Janzen received her Diplomate in Pediatric Neuropsychology in 2010; Distinguished Research Scholar Award from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2014; and the Excellence in Psychological Assessment Award from Gonzaga University in 2019. Dr. Fletcher-Janzen has co-edited and authored sixteen books and reference works including the Encyclopedia of Special Education (Wiley) and the Diagnostic Desk Reference of Childhood Disorders (Wiley). She has also published the Neuropsychology of Women (Springer), the third edition of the Handbook of Clinical Child Neuropsychology (Springer), and Neuropsychological Perspectives on the Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities in the Era of RTI with John Wiley & Sons.

Dr. Fletcher-Janzen's research interests address cross-cultural aspects of cognitive abilities, affective neuroscience and homeostatic function of emotions, neuropsychological aspects of chronic illness, and the systematic management of pediatric chronic illness in school and clinical settings.

Dr. Fletcher-Janzen is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists, the International Neuropsychological Society, the American Psychological Association, Division 40, and the International School Psychology Association.

The workshop is being cosponsored by the Pacific Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center funded by SAMHSA, Student Affiliates in School Psychology at NAU, and the NAU Department of Educational Psychology Doctoral Student Organization.

Continuing Professional Development certificates will be provided for school psychologists for 3 NASP CPDs. Certificates of attendance with 3 contact hours will be provided to all other attendees. The Arizona Association of School Psychologists is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists to offer continuing education for school psychologists (NASP Approved Provider #1013). AASP maintains responsibility for this program. Contact Jina Yoon, AASP CPD Chairperson, at with any concerns or needs regarding this workshop. 3 CPD credits will be given to participants who attend this workshop in its entirety and complete the evaluation after.

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