Why Trauma-Informed Education Is Imperative
As most people know, education is a vital aspect of every child’s life. School is where children and adolescents spend most of their days and learn a lot of what they know about life. Unfortunately, over half of the children in public schools are exposed to violence and trauma at some point in their lives. This commonality of trauma requires a level of education on the subject for both administrators and children. Understanding trauma, discussing it, and working through it helps children feel less alone and better understand their experiences.
Placing a traumatized child in a school without trauma-informed education will likely lead to struggles, deficits, and even lifelong problems. While traditional education expects all students to prosper with the same teaching methods — essentially ignoring the individual, their experiences, and how they’ve been affected — trauma-informed education does the opposite. Integrating trauma-informed practices into the classroom allows space for students to heal while improving their skills and self-esteem.
Trauma and School Performance
Without trauma-informed education, children exposed to trauma are more likely to fail classes or be held back a grade, experience language delays, have disciplinary problems, or be placed into special education. Struggles in school can add to the trauma, and without facing it, those difficulties can grow into lifelong problems. When a child who has experienced trauma runs into challenges in school, they are often disciplined, leading to lower self-esteem and motivation.
Naturally, traumatic experiences can lead to behavior problems, depression, and anxiety, but they also impact a child’s opportunity for education. Exposure to trauma is linked to lower grades, IQs, graduation rates, attention deficits, reading disabilities, and even violence. As this continues, problems may only grow and worsen. When trauma leads to personal struggles, which surface as poor school performance, a student is made to feel worse, and the trauma’s impact grows.
Furthermore, trauma related to violence often leads to absences, suspensions, health issues, and lifelong employment struggles. When children endure this type of stress, intervention through their education is their only means of treatment in many cases.
How Trauma-Informed Education Works
Trauma-informed education takes traditional courses and blends them with treatment. Meetings help those recovering measure their progress, create and achieve goals and improve their abilities.
Many children who have experienced trauma in their lives are from under-privileged households or unstable family situations. They often do not have external access to treatment for stress, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This means their educational time is the only chance they have to heal. Therefore, trauma-informed education offers students a better opportunity for growth. Their place of education can also be a place of safety where they know they won’t be retraumatized or triggered so they can focus on their studies.
Trauma-informed education aims to understand how violence and other traumatic events impact individuals’ lives. This type of education uses that understanding to create services and support that works best for survivors of trauma so that recovery is the focus. It is essential to recognize that trauma-informed education is not about fixing students who’ve been impacted by trauma, but helping them heal and deal with such events and memories in the healthiest way possible.
The Benefits of Trauma-Informed Education
Trauma-informed education is about accommodating vulnerable students so that they can not only heal but have equal access to a well-rounded education. By establishing trauma-informed education, students who have experienced trauma feel safer and are more likely to trust and feel empowered and confident. When a child feels heard and understood, they are more likely to find solace and peace. Knowing that they are not alone in their feelings and struggles allows students to alter how their trauma affects their lives moving forward.
When a trauma-informed system is in place, students also learn how to work with each other and support one another. This approach works to remedy unhealthy behaviors while encouraging positive ones. Collaborating with others is an essential life skill that can be lacking when impacted by trauma. Integrating a trauma-informed program helps students learn how to trust, collaborate, and build confidence in forming relationships.
Since trauma can impact a child at any age, trauma-informed education helps survivors by altering their responses. They cannot change what happened, but education can change trauma’s effects and how children ultimately react. Rather than separating treatment and education, trauma-informed education focuses on self-discovery, healing, and growth alongside traditional education to improve one’s confidence. Trauma-informed teaching is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It works with the individual at their pace, working best for them.
Trauma impacts everyone differently, but with the proper education, students can thrive despite their past, making their growth even stronger.
Trauma-informed education is not just a program for schools to integrate into their curriculum. It should be an essential part of the system as so many children are affected by trauma. At Havenwood Academy, we treat teen girls who have experienced trauma while keeping them on track for graduation. We are experts in turning our students’ school performance around with trauma-informed education. Our blend of in-person, experiential, and GradPoint learning sets students up for success. With small class sizes and individual attention, we give students the greatest chance at success. Havenwood Academy is here to provide students with the best care, treatment, and educational experience for their future. If you have a child in need of our program, do not hesitate to reach out. Call us at (435) 586-2500 to see how we can help you and your teen daughter.
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