I remember seeing in a book whose author was abused while young, yet still grew up to become a psychiatrist. When he was interviewing an inmate, one of his questions struck him: "We were both abused. How come I am behind bars and you’re not? What made us different?"Currently, there’s little we can do to change a child’s genes, temperament or brain processing speed, but we can make a difference in their caregiving and social environment. Many of the traumatised children I’ve worked with who have made progress report having had contact with at least one supportive adult: a teacher who took a special interest in them, a neighbour, an aunt, even a school bus driver. Even the smallest gesture can sometimes make the difference to a child whose brain is hungry for affection.
What makes the difference? A smallest gesture of kindness.