Developmental Trauma Resources

  • Developmental Trauma Resources

The following are some excellent resources that the DTAA has compiled to assist families and professionals in their understanding of developmental trauma and its impacts. This list of resources was designed to accompany the More About Developmental Trauma page and should be referred to along with these resources.


The DTAA uses the term developmental trauma to explain and capture the effect early life trauma has on a child’s development, and the inherent reliance that development has on their relationship with a caregiver. Some of the resources suggested below use other terms such as early life adversity, complex trauma or toxic stress to describe this. The DTAA is continuing to canvass and discuss the best approach to the terminology we use to ensure our initiative is easily understood by families and professionals, and the words we use are positive and focused on healing and wellness, and are not seen as pathologizing those impacted by developmental trauma. Your feedback is welcome.


For your convenience, the resources set out below have been organized into Resources for Families and Resources for Professionals. Everyone is welcome to access all the resources noted below.  Through its work, the DTAA has gathered many more resources. If you don’t find what you are looking for or have additional suggestions, please contact us at [email protected].


How Brains Are Built: Core Story of Brain Development

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative has created an excellent 4 minute video How Brains Are Built: Core Story of Brain Development.



Apple Magazine Brain Issue – 2018

This issue of Apple (Alberta Health Services’ health and wellness magazine) is a great, well-written and easy to understand publication full of articles explaining our brains, the science behind them and what they need to thrive.



TEDtalk: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime

In 2014, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris did a 14 minute TEDtalk explaining how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime. childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime?language=en


ACE’s Pyramid

The Center for Disease Control in the US developed some info graphics that demonstrate how adverse childhood experiences impact our futures.



What Are ACEs?

Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child recently developed this helpful info graphic and set of FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) to illustrate the connection between the ACEs study and developmental trauma or what they refer to as toxic stress.



An ACEs “Primer”

This 5 minute video from KPRJ Films provides a basic overview of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study:



Developmental Trauma Summary Sheet

The UK’s Beacon House.




Developmental Trauma through the experiences of a child’s journey in foster care in the ReMoved short film by Nathaneal Matanick.



An ACE’s animated story from the UK

This very powerful 5 minute video from the UK provides an excellent depiction of the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences – with and without intervention.



Brains Journey to Resilience

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative has produced an 8 minute video, Brains Journey to Resilience, suitable for all to explain the brains resilience.

The Repair of Early Trauma: A “Bottom Up” Approach

The UK’s Beacon House has produced an 11 minute video that explains developmental trauma through the voice of a child.



10 Things Children Need for Healthy Development

From a “big picture” prevention point of view, this is an info graphic from the Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development (prepared by Fallon, B; Sokolowski, M; Burrows, G; Lye, S; Truelsen, S.) that sets out the 10 things children need for healthy development.





Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s proposal to include a Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis in the DSM:

Here is Dr. Bessel van der Kolk et al‘s 2009 proposal to include Developmental Trauma Disorder in the DSM-V. Our kids need to be better understood by all of us. Join the DTAA’s campaign to Heal Childhood Trauma Together.


Developmental Trauma Disorder: A Missed Opportunity in DSM-V

Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psyciatry



Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers in Canada

The Infant Mental Health Promotion from Sick Kids recently issued a Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers in Canada. It contains a lot of excellent background material.



The Future of Healing: Shifting from Trauma Informed Care to Healing Centred Engagement

Shawn Ginwright, PhD


 Remembering Trauma, Parts 1 & 2: Connecting the Dots Between Complex Trauma & Misdiagnosis in Youth

A 16 minute video about complex trauma and misdiagnosis in youth (Part 1), followed by a 32 minute companion film with expert commentary (Part 2) by KPJR Films.

* Caution: this film includes adult language and scenes of family violence and sexual assault; youth should watch with a trusted adult who they can turn to for support.


For Pediatricians & Family Doctors:

Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Cope with Trauma

A Guide for Pediatricians.  American Academy of Pediatrics.


Applying Universal ACEs screening in the pediatric clinic

US Centre for Youth and Wellness


US QIC-AG Adoption Fact Sheet for Health Care Providers

Quality Improvement Centre for Adoption & Guardianship Support and Preservation

For Educators:

Helping Traumatized Children Learn

A very good US website: which includes videos and resource guides. Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative


ACO webpage for Educator Resources

The Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO) has gathered resources together for teachers and other educators to assist them in their work with children and youth.


US QIC-AG Adoption Fact Sheet for Educators Quality Improvement Centre for Adoption & Guardianship Support and Preservation       final.pdf



  • The Boy who was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook, by Dr. Bruce Perry
  • Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. A graphic novel for kids being raised in kinship families by a young man raised by his grandparents.
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk
  • The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity by Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris
  • The Damage I Am, an on-line book by Toronto Mount Sinai doctors Dr. Robert Maunder & Dr. Jonathan Hunter
  • All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, a powerful call for action and justice for Indigenous communities and youth, by Tanya Talaga
  • When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, by Dr. Gabor Mate
  • Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential – and Endangered, by Dr. Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz
  • Riley the Brave, by Jessica Sinarski.  A great book for school aged kids (and the big guys who support them!)
  • Belonging: A Relationship-Based Approach for Trauma-Informed Education, by Sian Phillips, Deni Melim & Daniel Hughes





For Professionals & the Public

  • AFWI’s Brain Story course – a free on-line 19 module course that provides a deeper understanding about brain development and its consequences for lifelong health, including addictions.

For Parents:

For all parents:

For adoptive, kinship, customary care and foster parents and caregivers:

For kinship caregivers:

For Professionals:

All Professionals:


Child Welfare and Mental Health Professionals:

Child Welfare Professionals Working with Kinship Caregivers: