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Home » When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds: Dr. Robert K. Ross (Transcript)

When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds: Dr. Robert K. Ross (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of Dr. Robert K. Ross’ talk titled “When Time Doesn’t Heal All Wounds” at TEDxIronwoodStatePrison 2014 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Epidemic of Childhood Trauma

What I want to do is I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the most important, critical, and most powerful in our view, at The California Endowment, disease in this country, and that is the disease and the condition of childhood trauma. I want to talk to you a little bit about what it means, and here being at Ironwood State Prison is the perfect backdrop to talk about this epidemic of what happens to our young people, and how that plays out in their lives. Let me start by way of a story, and the story begins with a young woman named Claudia.

Claudia is someone who we’ve come to know in the last couple of years. At the age of 12, Claudia was growing up in South Central Los Angeles in one of those neighborhoods and communities that many of you, here at Ironwood State Prison, grew up in, where a young person is more likely to be enrolled in a gang than enrolled in college. Claudia grew up in a neighborhood like that; she was doing OK.

She was doing well in school until the age of 12. One of her older sisters was brutally murdered. A few months after that, another older sister was shot right in front of Claudia’s face.

Claudia then went from a straight-A student to someone who became a problem in the classroom. She became stubborn; she became defiant. Her grades dropped; she got thrown out of the classroom. She got suspended from school; she got expelled from school.

The Impact of Trauma on Health

She went on to lose interest in school and her education. She went on to get pregnant, and she went on to lead a very tough life at the age of 14 and 15. I want to return back to the story of Claudia and how that story has ended in a few minutes.

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