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Unit 2: Toxic Stress and the Impact on Child Development

Goal: Develop an understanding of trauma and toxic stress and how they impact child development.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define stress and levels of stress.
  2. Describe the young child's experience of stress.
  3. Discuss the long term effect of trauma and toxic stress on development, health and mental health.


This unit contains links to presentations by experts about trauma, toxic stress and their effect on child development. The links include power point presentations and video presentations. You may choose to view some or all of the presentations.

The length of time for each presentation is noted below. The time needed for this unit is 30 minutes to one hour. Questions are provided at the end to help you test your knowledge.

Unit 2 Components:

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics & Healthy Child Care America
    1. "Toxic Stress and the Science of Early Brain and Child Development", a recorded webinar, approximately 90 minutes.
  2. Center on Developing Child-Harvard University
    1. "The Impact of Early Adversity on Children's Development"; 4 minute video presentation about the impact of adversity. A one page summary is also provided in pdf.