Type of Resources
Research indicates that a majority of children in the United States will be exposed to at least one traumatic event before they turn 18, and some children experience multiple forms. Trauma can cause various adverse effects in physical, cognitive, linguistic, behavioral, social, and emotional functioning, which can affect educational performance and success. Despite the increased chance that children who have experience trauma will receive speech and language services, research surrounding trauma-informed practices predominantly focus on the role of general education teachers and mental health professionals. This qualitative study aimed to understand the feelings, attitudes, and reported behaviors of five Colorado school speech-language pathologists regarding trauma-informed practices. Data were gathered through semi-structured participant interviews and demographic surveys, before they were analyzed and reduced into five major themes. The themes included: (a) internal motivation to utilize trauma-informed practices; (b) foundational triad of safety, trust, and connection; (c) flexibility; (d) policy as the ultimate barrier; and (e) collaboration and communication. The discussion section outlines the study’s limitations, areas of future research, and the implications for speech-language pathologists, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, school districts, and policymakers. Findings from the study support that speech-language pathologists play a vital role in supporting students who have experienced trauma; therefore, they should be educated in trauma, its effects, and how to navigate student dysregulation that occurs because of trauma. While the results of this study align with the literature base, more research is needed to fully understand the role of speech-language pathologists in trauma-informed practices and what best practices look like in the school setting.