Trauma Informed Language

Words Matter

Frequently HeardReframe It
She’s an attention-seeking child.She is asking for connection and closeness.
He is a liar.He is seeking safety and has challenges trusting others with the truth.
He is so controlling or manipulative.He is seeking predictability, boundaries and structure.
She is a thief.She is testing boundaries or seeking safety.
They are aggressive, violent or rude.They are having difficulty getting their needs met.
He has sexualized behaviors or is a “perp”.He is sensory seeking, curious, self-stimulating, or has challenges with boundaries regarding touch.
She has extreme behaviors.She may be distressed, overstimulated or overwhelmed.
They are non-compliant.They may be testing boundaries, seeking safety or have difficulty expressing needs.
The child blew placement.The child’s caregivers were unable to meet the child’s needs at this time.