Laconia, NH: Parents asked to fill out ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES forms

Aug 25, 2018, Laconia (NH) Daily: Laconia school tackling challenges of childhood trauma Traumatic stress early in life can significantly affect a child’s health, happiness and future. Studies show children who have gone through what are formally known as adverse childhood experiences — or ACEs — are more likely to develop diseases and adopt risky behaviors, ultimately shortening their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those same experiences can also derail a child’s education and put that child at a steep disadvantage compared to peers. That’s why educators at Pleasant Street School have instituted initiatives — both in and out of the classroom — to help students deal with the strain, and thereby become better learners. ACEs can include divorce, a death in the family, poverty, or witnessing drug overdoses or incidents of domestic violence, explained Pleasant Street Principal David Levesque. Parents have been asked to fill out questionnaires on what potentially traumatic events their child may have been exposed to even before they enter school. With the incidence of ACEs among Pleasant Street students increasing, “We’re relying on parents to help by helping their child ahead of time,” Levesque said…. But a big part of the pilot program at Pleasant Street has been instituting a better support system within the school for students who are struggling with problems outside of school…. In cases where a student becomes extremely disruptive, rather than sending that child to the school office, the teacher will take the student outside the classroom to find what the problem is. Meanwhile, Levesque or another staff member takes over the class while the teacher has one-to-one time with the troubled student…. A big part of taking a trauma-informed approach is identifying behaviors not as willful misbehavior, but rather as a symptom of need….