Maltreated and traumatized children and young people

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This chapter starts by reviewing what childhood adversity is understood to encompass, with a particular focus on trauma and maltreatment. We consider how commonly children encounter these adversities, as well as the proportion of affected children who go on to experience disrupted development. We then examine what is known about the mechanisms by means of which these effects operate. Progressively, there will be a focus on language and social communication in the context of childhood maltreatment. First, we critically examine what is known about the consequences of maltreatment on development of structural language, and then what research tells us about the impact of maltreatment on pragmatic language and social communication. Thereafter, the chapter reviews recommendations for adversity-informed language and communication assessment and intervention for traumatized and maltreated children and young people. The chapter ends with a look to possible future directions for research in this complex field, allied to advances in ecological rather than deficit-based models of practice and in understanding of the role of social cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Pragmatic Language Disorders
EditorsLouise Cummings
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Pages585 - 612
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783030749859
ISBN (Print)9783030749842
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2021


  • adversity
  • children
  • language
  • maltreatment
  • pragmatics
  • social communication
  • trauma


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