While children experience many types of trauma, the most common forms typically occur at the hands of their parents and caregivers. Neglect, physical and sexual abuse are often combined with emotional abuse and exposure to domestic violence. Researchers seeking to understand the effects of trauma on child development often draw distinctions between acute or single incident trauma and chronic trauma, sometimes referred to as Type I and Type II trauma, respectively.
Research has identified a set of critical developmental processes, both psychological and biological, that are impacted by traumatic experiences. These processes, often conceptualized as developmental threads, run the course of the child’s development and set the pattern for adult life. They broadly shape the individual’s capacity to self-regulate in the face of stress and their sense of self and ability to relate to others.
It is, however, well-established that significant trauma disrupts normal development in ways that are detrimental to many areas of adult functioning and often leads to costly emotional and physical problems that could be avoided or minimized by much earlier intervention.
 “Mobilizing Trauma Resources for Children,” January 8, 2004, William W. Harris, Ph.D., Children’s Research and Education Institute; Frank W. Putnam, M.D., Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio; John A. Fairbank, Ph.D., UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.