In our schools for many of the children and youth that we serve this is far from a happy and care free time of year. Many of the young people we work with are living with-in risky environments. Lets take a quick look........
There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.—Nelson Mandela
Each Day In America--- 2014
- 2 mothers die in childbirth.
- 4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.
- 5 children or teens commit suicide.
- 7 children or teens are killed by guns.
- 24 children or teens die from accidents.
- 66 babies die before their first birthdays.
- 187 children are arrested for violent crimes.
- 408 children are arrested for drug crimes.
- 838 public school students are corporally punished.*
- 847 babies are born to teen mothers.
- 865 babies are born at low birth weight.
- 1,241 babies are born without health insurance.
- 1,392 babies are born into extreme poverty.
- 1,837 children are confirmed as abused or neglected.
- 2,723 babies are born into poverty.
- 2,857 high school students drop out.*
- 4,028 children are arrested.
- 4,408 babies are born to unmarried mothers.
- 16,244 public school students are suspended.*
*Based on 180 school days a year.
Many of the children we work with in our schools are living in environments with levels of stress that are toxic.
What is Trauma?
Trauma arises from an inescapable stressful event that overwhelms an individuals’ coping mechanisms (van der Kolk & Fisler, 1995).
“Prolonged exposure to repetitive or severe events such as child abuse, is likely to cause the most severe and lasting effects.”
“Traumatization can also occur from neglect, which is the absence of essential physical or emotional care, soothing and restorative experiences from significant others,particularly in children.”
(International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, 2009)
Isolated Trauma Versus Complex Trauma
Isolated traumatic incidents tend to produce discrete conditioned behavioral and biological responses to reminders of the trauma (as in PTSD)
Complex (chronic) trauma interferes with neurobiological development and the capacity to integrate sensory, emotional and cognitive information into a cohesive whole.(van der Kolk, B., 2005)
-A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds in the United States.(Childhelp, 2013)
-Children who experience child abuse and neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime.
(Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006)
-Trauma histories are pervasive among youth in America (especially youth from diverse cultural backgrounds).
-Children with disabilities are more likely to experience neglect than children without disabilities.
(Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2006)
-More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner.(CDC,2013)
-Nearly 80% of female offenders with a mental illness report having been physically and/or sexually abused.(Marcenich, 2009)
-The majority of clients served by public mental health and substance abuse service systems are survivors of trauma.(Mueser et al, 1998)
-Seventy-five percent (75%) of women and men in treatment for substance abuse report trauma histories. (SAMSHA/CSAT, 2000)
Trauma and Pain Based Behaviors in our Schools?
Challenging behaviors often reflect psycho-emotional pain … “grief at losses and abandonment; persistent anxiety about themselves and their situation; fear of or even terror about a disintegrating present and a hopeless future; depression and dispiritedness at a lack of meaning or sense of purpose in their lives; and what could be termed ‘psycho-emotional paralysis’, or a state of numbness and withdrawal from the people and world around them” (Anglin, 2003, p. 109-110)
Your most difficult behavior problems in schools are young people in pain.
Too Often we are........Responding to Pain with Pain
“Seldom did care-workers acknowledge or respond sensitively to the inner world of the child. (They would react to difficult) behavior by making demands of a controlling nature (e.g. get a grip on yourself!”, or “Watch your language now!”) or giving a warning of possible consequences in terms of lost points, time out, or withdrawal of privileges…” Anglin, 2003
The Parallel Process
“traumatized people are frequently misdiagnosed and mistreated in the …system… Because of their characteristic difficulties with close relationships, they are vulnerable to become re-victimized by caregivers.
They may become engaged in ongoing, destructive interactions, in which the…system replicates the behavior of the abusive family” (Herman 1992)
So where can a school start? First we must become aware of our most troubled children and begin to recognize that their behavior is being driven by pain!
Then we can begin to build school environments of hope!
3 Pillars of Trauma Informed Care-
3. Emotion and impulse management
Let me know what you might think? Wondering how you may view this information?