Becoming a trauma informed environment
In a previous blog, I wrote about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the resulting stress of severe and chronic childhood trauma releasing toxic stress hormones that physically damage a child’s developing brain - children with toxic stress live much of their lives in fight, flight or fright (freeze) mode. They fall behind in school or fail to develop healthy relationships with peers or create problems with teachers and principals because they are unable to trust adults.
With despair, guilt and frustration pecking away at their psyches, they often find solace in food, alcohol, tobacco, methamphetamine, inappropriate sex, high-risk sports, and/or work and over-achievement. They don’t regard these coping methods as problems. Consciously or unconsciously, they use them as solutions to escape from depression, anxiety, anger, fear and shame.
To illustrate what school feels like for children and teens living with trauma pain, InnerWorld Work have, with parents of children with trauma, made this moving 5 minute video:
With the results of ACE research, trauma-informed practices are rising globally in schools, prisons, mental clinics and hospitals, etc. Such services need training and support to become trauma and attachment aware environments.
For anyone working with children and young people, there is a ‘Trauma & Resilience’ Event at the University of Chichester on Saturday 7th October from 1pm – 4.30pm.
A 1 hour, ground-breaking documentary ‘Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope’ will be shown. It chronicles the birth of a new movement among doctors, therapists, educators and communities, who are using cutting edge brain science to disrupt cycles of violence, addiction and disease. After the showing, there will be a panel discussion on what we can do to enable resilience and repair in the children and young people we work with. The afternoon will conclude with a presentation on disarming the fear response and the capacity of repair in educational settings.
The impact for schools in other communities who have already embraced the messages from this film, have experienced fantastic outcomes. By embracing and embedding a trauma informed approach, the benefits to not only the traumatised children attending school but to the whole community – teachers, TA’s and all children are huge and the long-term impact both financially and emotionally is extensive. Other areas that have implemented similar programmes have seen behavioural problems decrease, an increase in learning, funding needing for extra support go down, the list goes on....
Details of the event are here.
Retweet about this article:
Geoff Knott, 06/09/2017