Trauma Informed care
Trauma Informed Care is an approach that educators can use that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.
Important Things to Know About Trauma & Schooling:
- Trauma can impact school performance
- Trauma can impair learning
- Traumatized children may experience physical and emotional distress
- At least 1 in 4 students have experienced trauma
4 Essentials of Trauma Informed Care
- Connect: Focus on relationships
- Protect: Promote safety & trust
- Respect: Engage in choice & collaboration
- Redirect: Teach & reinforce skill-building and competence to empower
- Maintain usual routines. A return to “normalcy” will communicate the message that the child is safe and life will go on.
- Give children choices. Often traumatic events involve loss of control and/or chaos, so you can help children feel safe by providing them with some choices or control when appropriate.
- Increase the level of support and encouragement given to the traumatized child.
- Set clear, firm limits for inappropriate behavior and develop logical—rather than punitive— consequences.
- Recognize that behavioral problems may be transient and related to trauma. Remember that even the most disruptive behaviors can be driven by trauma-related anxiety.
- Be aware of other students' reactions to the traumatized child and to the information they share. Protect the traumatized child from peers’ curiosity and protect classmates from the details of a child’s trauma.
- Understand that children cope by re-enacting trauma through play or through their interactions with others. Resist their efforts to draw you into a negative repetition of the trauma. For instance, some children will provoke teachers in order to replay abusive situations at home.
- While a traumatized child might not meet eligibility criteria for special education, consider making accommodations and modifications to academic work for a short time, even including these in a 504 plan. You might:
- Shorten assignments
- Allow additional time to complete assignments
- Give permission to leave class to go to a designated adult (such as a counselor or mentor) if feelings become overwhelming
- Provide additional support for organizing and remembering assignments
Primer on Trauma Informed Care from March Staff Meeting @ Tam High
Use this brief assessment to identify simple ways to create a trauma-sensitive classroom.
Responding to trauma in the classroom
Child Trauma Toolkit: This brief (21-page) toolkit provides basic information about trauma and its impact on students of a variety of ages. It also provides strategies that educators can use to create a safe environment.
Trauma Responsive Educational Practices Project: This website provides a variety of resources.