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Conference: School bus drivers told that out-of-control behavior is the result of trauma from home

Mar 23, 2018, School Transportation News: TSD EXPERT: TRAUMA DAMAGES BRAINS, EXPLAINS BEHAVIOR OUTBURSTS HTTP://STNONLINE.COM/NEWS/LATEST-NEWS/ITEM/9349-CHILDHOOD-TRAUMA-EXPLAINS-WHY-SOME-STUDENTS-BEHAVE-BADLY RE: TRANSPORTING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES CONFERENCE. Student misbehavior on the school bus, especially in students with disabilities, indicates internal pain as a result of a variety of issues. That was a main theme of Lori Desautels’ talks with student transporters at the recent TSD Conference in Frisco, Texas. The assistant professor at Butler University in Indianapolis and special education teacher for elementary children presented at a general session on March 13 which she expanded on later that day during a breakout session. She said these students are unable to regulate these behaviors based on the effect that past traumas, which researchers have coined Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs, have on the developing brain. … “Children in pain look oppositional or apathetic,” she said. “A lot of our students are so angry. How can you be so angry when you are so young?” What these students are really doing by acting out, Desautels explained, is communicating with school bus drivers, attendants and teachers. She also provided an overview of brain science to help attendees understand how these early childhood traumas and the resulting stress affects students. The brain develops from the stem, where the body’s life-sustaining regulation occurs, to the prefrontal cortex, where thoughts and senses are processed. … Student transporters, as well as teachers, need to understand what’s happening in children’s brains in order to help calm these emotions and prepare the children to learn. … there is a scientific explanation behind how they feel and why they act out. Desautels also provided several strategies for school bus drivers and attendants to calm students. They included creating hand signals that are personal to each student; establishing “worry buckets” on the bus where students can drop off notes explaining frustrations and challenges; and incorporating a word or phrase of the day for students to focus on. She also demonstrated several rhythmic body movements and breathing exercises that student transporters can teach students to help “dampen down” emotional responses and stresses. Desautels said students can also be encouraged to lead the exercises.