Sept 4, 2018, WHYY, Philadelphia, PA: With new proposal, trauma-informed care could become standard in Pa. schools https://whyy.org/articles/with-new-proposal-trauma-informed-care-could-become-standard-in-pa-schools/ If a pair of powerful Pennsylvania state senators get their way, a burgeoning approach to managing student behavior could become a mandate. State Sens. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and Vincent Hughes, D-Philadelphia, announced a proposal last week to create a “trauma-informed system of education.” The central plank of their proposal is a requirement that all teachers, school board members, and school employees “with direct contact with students” receive trauma-informed training. ... …A 2017 review by the National Conference of State Legislators found a spike nationwide in legislation related to trauma-informed care. This latest proposal represents another evolution in Pennsylvania’s approach to school safety, an issue pushed into the spotlight following a pair of deadly school shootings earlier this year. Although much of the debate since then has revolved around whether districts should allow some teachers to carry guns in school, there’s also been bipartisan momentum around the need to focus more on behavioral health. Trauma-informed care sits squarely in the middle of that conversation. In broad strokes, the model asks teachers and staff to change the way they approach student misbehavior. Instead of reflexively punishing or scolding students, teachers in a trauma-informed school would try to find the root of the misbehavior and use that knowledge to deescalate the situation. “We can give him a bottle of water and put our hand on his back and ask him not, what’s wrong with you, but what happened,” said Temple University researcher Kathy Reeves, an expert on trauma-informed care, in testimony last Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee in Philadelphia. Researchers who back the method say students often act out because of what the field calls “Adverse Childhood Experiences,” known commonly as ACEs. Those experiences include abuse, neglect, discrimination, violence, the death of a family member, and more. The accumulation of these adverse experiences, researchers say, can hinder the function of a growing brain and ultimately lead to the kind of irritability or impulse control that causes kids to act out. It’s important for teachers to understand the relationship between trauma and behavior, these experts say, and then to respond in ways that reflect this understanding. Over time, experts and state leaders hope, this approach can heal students who might otherwise commit violence…. …We are never going to have safe schools until we have trauma-informed schools,” Reeves told the committee…. Some of the $60 million Pennsylvania designated earlier this year for school safety could go toward trauma-informed approaches to education, which was one of 22 categories listed among potential uses for the money.
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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