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Finding Hope in Trauma Parenting: A Day at the Neurodiversity Fair

Collage of images, including Trauma Facts poster, logos for TDU and Guiding Bright Minds, and an image of two women smiling at a booth outdoors in the sunshine.

This past weekend, Trauma Drama University had the honor of participating in the Neurodiversity Resource Fair hosted by Guiding Bright Minds on the beautiful, historic campus of Accelerated Schools. Alongside one of our dedicated board members, I manned our booth, eager to share our mission of providing education, support, and resources to parents raising children with trauma behaviors that don't respond to conventional parenting techniques.

Running a start-up nonprofit like Trauma Drama University often feels like an uphill battle. The challenges of securing grants and demonstrating our impact can be discouraging. There are days when I question whether I can keep going. However, experiences like the one I had last Saturday remind me why this work is so important.


One encounter in particular stood out. From a distance, I noticed a couple approaching our table. The mother’s face was etched with a weariness I recognized instantly. She was living in a state of constant chaos, fearing her teenage son, and was clearly carrying the weight of her own trauma. I could sense that the financial strain of therapy, special schooling, and home repairs was a significant barrier to getting the help she needed.

As they reached our booth, the father’s eyes locked onto a specific paragraph on our “Trauma Facts” poster. “Be their calm in the storm... now THAT'S what YOU'RE not good at,” he said pointedly to his wife. I saw her shrink with shame, and I knew I had to step in.


“You know, it’s almost impossible to stay calm when your body is in a constant state of fight or flight,” I began. “After years of living in a volatile environment, nobody is perfect at remaining calm all the time. I had to learn my own coping strategies before I could expect my child to overcome his traumas.”


This opened the door to a heartfelt conversation. I shared how the insights on our poster had helped me understand that my child wasn’t acting out to push my buttons, but was stuck in a survival mode, living in his reptilian brain most of the time. He wasn’t a “bad kid”; his trauma had left him in a perpetual state of fight or flight. As his parent, it was my responsibility to be his frontal lobe, guiding him towards the skills he needed to develop.

We talked about the 90-second rule—how taking 90 seconds can help reset your brain from a trauma response. I explained the importance of taking a personal timeout when anger starts to rise, and communicating to your child that you need a moment to regain your composure. I emphasized that as parents, we need to model calmness to help our children eventually learn to do the same.


Our discussion covered the significance of connection over correction. Instead of solely focusing on bad behaviors, I encouraged them to build a relationship with their son. Engage in activities he enjoys, take a day off to have fun together, and prioritize the bond over grades or chores. Connection is key. When children feel safe and connected, their brains are more likely to comply with our requests naturally.


By the end of our conversation, they took a brochure and expressed interest in our free online classes. I sincerely hope they utilize our free resources to find peace and build a more connected family.


It’s moments like these that reaffirm my commitment to Trauma Drama University. Despite the challenges, seeing the hope and relief on parents' faces makes it all worthwhile. We are making a difference, one family at a time.


 

Thank you for your ongoing support. Together, we can help families navigate the complexities of trauma and create environments where children can heal and thrive. Grab your own copy of our TRAUMA FACTS poster here: www.traumadramauniversity.org/posters


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