Trauma, abuse, violence, and related stress in children impact learning and make children more susceptible to high-risk behaviors. Educators stand in a unique position to recognize stress in these vulnerable students and mitigate against the impact of their life experiences.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that almost two-thirds of surveyed adults reported at least one adverse childhood experience and more than one in four reported three or more adverse childhood experiences, also referred to as ACEs.
Educators may be able to mitigate against the effect of such experiences in many ways, including:
- Teaching children and youth how to handle conflict(s), negative feelings, and pressures from peers
- Offering programs that teach skills for developing healthy, non-violent dating and peer relationships
- Teaching healthy childrearing skills to parents
- Helping parents or caregivers learn ways to support their children and set a good example with their behaviors
Texas Education Code § 21.451 requires staff development training on how grief and trauma affect student learning and behavior and how trauma-informed strategies support academic success. The Texas Education Agency provides, and annually updates, a list of recommended best practice-based programs regarding grief-informed and trauma informed practices.
For more on this topic and Social Emotional Learning in schools, you won’t want to miss Andrew Tatgenhorst (Irving) and Rebecca Bailey (New Braunfels) of Thompson & Horton and their talk Private Therapy Providers, Trauma Informed Care, and Social Emotional Learning: The Legal Issues at this year’s Spring Conference on Special Education Law, April 13, 2022 (Irving) and April 27, 2022 (New Braunfels).
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