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"Child Development Mediated by Trauma. The case of internationally adopted children"

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

By Dr. Boris Gindis


On January 17th, Dr. Boris Gindis spoke about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as it relates to international adoptions. He shared his expertise about complex childhood trauma and internationally adopted post-institutionalized children as an extreme group of young patients, whose development has been affected by adverse childhood experiences. The nature and manifestation of Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) in this population was discussed.

Dr. Gindis explained complex childhood trauma causes a neuropsychological condition – Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) – that develops due to adverse pre-birth, birth and post-birth circumstances, combined with pervasive, subjectively highly stressful events, mostly within the interpersonal context of the child’s life. DTD is formed before a child develops verbal and reasoning ability to process and store the traumatic experience in memory. Thus, the central nervous system (CNS) accumulates traumatic memories as somatic distress and ailment. The biochemistry of the whole organism is affected in a significant, and in some cases, permanent way. Symptoms may include dysregulated high psychological functions, distorted “internal working model,” state of agitation and hyperactivity or dissociation and withdrawal, difficulties in forming and sustaining social connectedness, and post-orphanage patterns of behavior. He proposes that one of the major causes of difficulties in family dynamics, peer specialization, and school learning of children is due to complex childhood trauma.

Dr. Gindis has published a book on this topic that capitalizes on his years of experience in the field. To learn more about him and his work please visit

We are grateful to have had our esteemed colleague join us for the sharing of knowledge and connection with our community.

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