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Parkersburg, WV: Yoga deals with "behavioral issues caused by trauma outside of school"

Nov 24, 2018, Marietta (OH) Times: Finding Balance: ‘Mindfulness’ program seeks to treat child trauma PARKERSBURG [WV] — Educators are looking for ways to help children deal with stress and trauma, though one of the newest techniques may also be one of the oldest. Through Mindful West Virginia, area schools are introducing yoga for students as one way of dealing with behavioral issues caused by trauma outside of school. Pamela Santer, wellness coordinator for West Virginia University at Parkersburg, and Amy Snodgrass with Mindful West Virginia are both yoga instructors and have been working together to teach mindfulness techniques to teachers and families. Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the moment, to look at and accept feelings and to use techniques to help calm oneself and move forward. Mindfulness training is part of a growing effort to help children deal with trauma and mental health issues which affect behavior. … “Many schools are finding a new generation of students who, because of trauma, are unable to function in a classroom,” Snodgrass said. “And it’s not just one school. It’s all of them. Kindergarten and first-grade, they have kids that just cannot self-regulate. They just go.” Cathy Grewe, coordinator of assessment and student services for Wood County Schools, said the need has increased dramatically in recent years. More students are facing trauma at home due to a variety of factors. Instances of abuse, neglect, violence and sexual abuse have increased, as have family deaths and loss of housing. The opioid epidemic has increased the amount of trauma many children see at a very early age, she said. … “There is a definite issue with students who are just not able to manage themselves,” Grewe said. “It’s a paradigm shift for educators to look past dealing with the behavior to find out why the behavior is occurring. … Yoga is one of those tools, Santer said. The practice helps students slow down their breathing and heart rate, helps them focus and calm themselves, and provides an outlet for energy and physical exercise. … Franklin Elementary Center uses yoga on a daily basis, beginning school with a 15 minute warmup for students and staff, Snodgrass said. …

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