Adverse Experiences - Digital Promise

Adverse Experiences

Adversity doesn’t just happen to children. It happens inside their brains and bodies through the biologic mechanism of stress.

-Pamela Cantor, MD, Founder and Senior Science Advisor, Turnaround for Children


Trauma can devastate young lives and exists in every corner of the United States. According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative, more than two thirds of children reported at least one traumatic event by age 16. These include: neglect; witnessing or experiencing domestic violence; sexual abuse, natural diasters; terrorism, sudden or violent loss of a loved one; serious accidents or life-threatening illness.

But that is not the end of the story. Children can and do recover from traumatic experiences and even thrive with the support of a trusted adult. Moreover, schools can be organized and equipped to address the ways trauma impacts student learning and healthy development.

At Digital Promise and Turnaround for Children, we feature numerous free resources to help teachers, school administrators, counselors, product developers, and parents embrace children who have traumatic experiences and provide evidence-based strategies to help them recover and thrive.

Learner Variability Project

LVP’s web app, the Navigator, includes several trauma-related factors that have an impact on student learning, including the following:

Importantly, the Navigator also highlights how these factors connect to each other, with a brief description of the research findings. Together with the factors, these connections show how a learner’s experience should be considered in total.

These factors can be found in each of our Learner Models in math, reading, and literacy, across grades pre-K through 9, with other high school Models coming soon.

Research Map

Digital Promise’s Research Map helps education leaders, policymakers, and technology developers quickly access research findings that can help to inform their work.

Trauma topic summary and resources

Challenge Map

Public school districts throughout the country are working to address big challenges in education, including Mental Health & Trauma. The Digital Promise Challenge Map illustrates how these issues play out in different contexts and provides information from school districts, researchers, and education organizations.

League of Innovative Schools

Innovation portfolios represent the work of districts within the League of Innovative Schools. The following district portfolio feature innovations related to student mental health and trauma:

Middletown City School District
Creating supports for student wellness, at school and at home.

Mentor Public Schools
Enhancing student safety through community partnerships.

“Mentor Schools has recognized that more students are coming to us with trauma having impacted their lives. Our staff is committed to trying to learn more and support the students in unprecedented ways. In concert with that, the state of Ohio has just recently introduced new standards for Social-Emotional standards and even created a web-page for Trauma Informed Schools.”
-William Porter, Superintendent

For more information, contact William at

Pascack Valley Regional HS District
Providing interventions and resources to address the social/emotional needs of students.

Turnaround for Children

One page PDF


Dr. Pamela Cantor
Trauma, Stress, and Schools: Connecting the Dots between Science and Practice


Dr. Pamela Cantor
Supporting Students Who Have Experienced Trauma

Getting Started With Trauma-Informed Practices

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