Behavior & Development • Sep 21, 2023

How Child Abuse Affects a Child’s Learning

Some of the impacts of child abuse are obvious, but one we don’t talk about as often is the effect on academic achievement. This relationship is complicated, as child abuse generally occurs alongside other types of maltreatment. This can include neglect, which can deprive a child of their natural home learning environment, and malnourishment. Any child who is not having their basic needs met will have a harder time focusing and succeeding at school.

Untreated mental illness, whether that is in the child or the parent, and intimate partner violence in the child’s home are other forms of maltreatment. Children in these environments are also more vulnerable to poor academic achievement because there often is nobody to ensure the child goes to school regularly, which can cause them to fall behind even further.

Maltreatment cases can have a direct impact on the brain. This is in addition to the indirect impacts that the child’s home environment may be causing. Although these children are at a disadvantage, kids can be very resilient. Every child has the potential to overcome their circumstances. Always keep an eye out for children who exhibit any signs that they may be subject to maltreatment. If you have any concerns, talk to your child’s school.