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Trauma-Informed Care & Teaching
Welcome In this course we’ll be looking at Trauma-Informed Care and how you, as a teacher, can help children experiencing trauma lead more productive and peaceful lives.
We’ll begin by building an awareness of what trauma is and what it means before we explore Trauma-Informed Care.
By the end of this course, you'll be able to identify children who are experiencing trauma and ways that you can help them.
Connect with these organizations if you're experiencing any trauma or if the content of this course initiates stress. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
Check out the Briefcase to find more information and resources on Trauma-Informed Care.
Why is Trauma-Informed Care Important?
By understanding and becoming aware of trauma, educators are afforded the opportunity to intervene and change the trajectory of a child’s life.
They go on to say, “When severe, these changes are termed toxic stress and can impede children’s behavior, cognitive capacity, and emotional and physical health.”
Silence and seclusion can be a sign of toxic stress for a child.
Children exposed to more frightening and threatening events suffer from academic, behavioral, and health problems.
Adverse Childhood Experiences can become a physical manifestation for children affected by trauma.
**Causes of Trauma ** Racial discrimination Police violence Housing segregation Economic insecurity Family instability Parental emotional instability Toxic stress, in a child’s life, is often referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Black children are disproportionately affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences and experience increased trauma.
Much like isolation, anger is an outward manifestation of a childhood trauma.
Discrimination is one of the leading causes for stress and trauma in a Black child’s life.
Discriminatory practices occur across all contexts of life, including schooling.
Children feel the emotional stress of discrimination, and it shows.
As educators, the sooner we learn to recognize the signs of a child experiencing toxic stress, the sooner we can help them.
References “Toxic Stress and children’s Outcomes: African American Children ...”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://www.epi.org/publication/toxic-stress-and-childrens-outcomes-african-american-children-growing-up-poor-are-at-greater-risk-of-disrupted-physiological-functioning-and-depressed-academic-achievement/. “The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Nationally, by ...”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://www.childtrends.org/publications/prevalence-adverse-childhood-experiences-nationally-state-race-ethnicity. “Issue Brief 1: Understanding the Impact of Trauma”, n.d. Accessed December 5, 2020. https://gucchdtacenter.georgetown.edu/TraumaInformedCare/issueBrief1_UnderstandingImpactTrauma.pdf. Images are sourced from: “Adobe Stock: Stock Photos, Royalty-Free Images, Graphics, Vectors ...”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://stock.adobe.com/. “Canva”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://www.canva.com/.
What is Trauma-Informed Care?
** The Four R’s define Trauma-Informed Care** According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a Trauma-Informed Care organization does these four things: **Realizes **the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery. **Recognizes **the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system. **Responds **by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices. Seeks to actively **resist **re-traumatization.
Trauma can affect anyone, so education employees should always use trauma-informed practices when working with students, staff, and families.
For example, when meeting with parents, it’s important to remember that the system of school can be traumatic for someone. All parents and students should feel welcome and heard.
People in trauma have difficulty learning.
Teachers should try to recognize when students might be experiencing trauma, so teachers can respond to the student’s trauma.
The teacher should respond with support and empowerment if a student approaches a teacher with an issue.
Phrases like “Thank you for sharing that with me. How would you like the outcome to look?” are compassion-based.
Trauma-Informed Care is not therapy or services to heal or address a person’s trauma.
Trauma-Informed Care is realizing that anyone can be in trauma, recognizing possible signs of trauma, responding to other’s trauma, and resisting retraumatization.
Every student, parent, and employee that we interact with could have experienced serious trauma that influences the way they think, feel, and behave.
Schools and individuals should adopt a Trauma-Informed Care approach with everyone they interact with because it’s impossible to tell who is suffering from trauma.
References “The Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (ITTIC ...”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/social-research/institutes-centers/institute-on-trauma-and-trauma-informed-care.html. “SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed ...”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/userfiles/files/SAMHSA_Trauma.pdf. ** Images are sourced from:** “Adobe Stock: Stock Photos, Royalty-Free Images, Graphics, Vectors ...”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://stock.adobe.com/. “Canva”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://www.canva.com/.
How does Trauma form?
Trauma at School The school environment and system can traumatize and retraumatize students.
Examples of trauma at school include:
Requiring students to write, act, or read about traumatic events.
Grouping students by categories of identity that reinforce stereotypes and encourage bias (like perceived academic ability, gender, race, size, etc.).
Using intervention programs that reinforce the school-to-prison pipeline instead of restorative justice.
Bullying and abuse from classmates.
Trauma at Home The first trauma a child could experience can take place at home. The younger children are when they experience a traumatic event the more impact it has on them.
**Trauma at Home Examples ** Divorce Moving Frequently Death of a Loved One Medical injury or illness Domestic Violence Poverty
Trauma in Communities Students can also experience trauma when interacting within their communities.
Examples of Trauma in Communities Political Unrest Natural Disasters War
References “Traumatic Events: Causes, Effects, and Management”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/traumatic-events. Images are sourced from: “Adobe Stock: Stock Photos, Royalty-Free Images, Graphics, Vectors ...”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://stock.adobe.com/. “Canva”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://www.canva.com/.
What Does Trauma Look Like?
Signs of Traumatic Stress In this lesson, there are two classroom scenarios. The first scenario is about a kindergartener named Aida and the second is about a high school student named Donovan Then you will determine whether these children are exhibiting signs of traumatic stress. Lastly, we will briefly discuss the common signs of traumatic stress in children.
Mr. Johnson teaches kindergarten.
In Mr. Johnson's class there is a 5 year-old girl named Aida.
Every morning when her mother drops her off, she cries inconsolably.
This is normal at the beginning of the year, but she continues to cry every day and does not interact with Mr. Johnson or play with her peers.
Mr. Johnson notices Aida has a speech delay, and she gets upset when other students are loud or when her daily routine is interrupted.
Ms. Herrera teaches math at the high school level.
In one of her honors classes, there is a boy named Donovan.
Donovan has become increasingly aggressive and confrontational at school.
He talks throughout class and has difficulty staying on task.
Be alert to the possibility of a misdiagnosis. Children who have experienced traumatic events may have behavioral problems like Donovan, or their suffering may not be apparent at all, like Aida. It is important to look for signs in children who do not act out like Donovan. These children often fly under the radar and do not get help. You may be legally obligated to report any possibilities of abuse to law enforcement or social services as state reporting laws require. Many behaviors in children who have experienced trauma are nearly identical to those with developmental delays such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and other mental health issues. Therefore the misdiagnosis forms a treatment plan that does not address the trauma.
References “Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators | The National Child Traumatic ...”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://www.nctsn.org/resources/child-trauma-toolkit-educators. Images are sourced from: “Adobe Stock: Stock Photos, Royalty-Free Images, Graphics, Vectors ...”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://stock.adobe.com/. “Canva”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://www.canva.com/.
Support Students Who Experience Trauma
There are several things you can do to support your students if you suspect that one of them has experienced trauma.
References “8 Ways to Support Students Who Experience Trauma | Edutopia”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/8-ways-support-students-who-experience-trauma. “Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators | The National Child Traumatic ...”, n.d., accessed December 1, 2020, https://www.nctsn.org/resources/child-trauma-toolkit-educators. ** Images are sourced from: ** “Adobe Stock: Stock Photos, Royalty-Free Images, Graphics, Vectors ...”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://stock.adobe.com/. “Canva”, n.d. Accessed December 1, 2020. https://www.canva.com/.