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Marietta, OH: "Behavioral issues" in school blamed on trauma from home

Jan 5, 2019, Marietta (OH) Times: Area schools work to identify, treat childhood trauma Teachers and school administrators are learning how to identify childhood trauma to better address student mental health and behavioral issues. The Adverse Childhood Experience, or ACE, Questionnaire is designed to determine a child’s risk due to childhood trauma. Things like divorce, neglect, violence, drug or alcohol abuse and physical or sexual abuse can cause an ACE score to go up. The higher the score, the more at-risk the child is considered. Julie Bertram, coordinator of health services for Wood County Schools, said ACE was developed in the late 1990s to identify factors that could predict health outcomes. “We’re noticing more and more, and there are other studies that indicate this, these behaviors we are seeing with our children, they have really high ACE scores,”Bertram said. “The higher the ACE score, the less the coping mechanisms, the decreased resiliency.”… “Right now it is an educational tool for principals, counselors and teachers to build awareness of how students struggle based on their life experiences,” Grewe said. “Informally they can look for indicators of trauma. The survey puts language to that…. Wood County isn’t the only area school system looking at ways to address childhood trauma and mental health issues. A drug epidemic, social media pressures and the normal stress of adolescence and young-adulthood have come together to create a particularly difficult mix of issues and hurdles facing students throughout the nation. In 2018, several Washington County school systems partnered with local mental health service organizations to provide in-house therapy and counseling for students. … “The six kindergarten-through-12th-grade public school districts in our county collaborated with Life and Purpose Behavioral Health to write a grant for Trauma Informed Schools training that will take place over the next several years,” he said. “The goal is to train all the employees of those school districts to better understand and serve those students and families who have experienced or are experiencing severe trauma in their lives.”… Hosaflook said children growing up in an abusive or neglectful home often have issues of trust and communication in addition to disruptive behavioral issues. “The brain is being rewired. That is what is hard for us to understand,” he said. “They’re always in that fight-or-flight response. We can control a lot of adversity during the school day, but we don’t know what kids are experiencing outside of school.” Bertram said using indicators such as ACE helps teachers to better identify the reasons for and respond appropriately to disruptive behavior. …
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