July 2018

Consider This…

News and information about education, research, and support for SESPs; adoptive, foster, and kinship caregivers; and child welfare and education professionals helping children with trauma and other special needs get the most from their education.

5 Things Every Parent or Special Education Surrogate Parent Should Do in the IEP Process
Mary-Beth Landy
Training and Support Specialist, RTSC

♪Summertime, and the “IEP” livin’ is easy…♪ But is it though? Or maybe I should say “Should it be?” Now that school is out, I know that it is tempting to put that IEP and all those progress reports aside and head to the beach with the kids. I get that. Have you thought of taking some time between the trips to the park, driving the kids to summer camp, and the millions of other things that you do in a day, to pull out the IEP paper work and give it a once over during out of school time? Wouldn’t it be easier on you, and your stress level, to spend some time when you are not running out the door to the IEP meeting?Continue Reading…

Things to Consider…

Morning Meetings in Middle and High School

Some call it “Morning Meetings”, some call it “Circle Time”, but whatever it’s called, the time set aside for community building helps to create an environment of trust in the classroom. They are becoming the standard format for Social Emotional Learning in many elementary schools across the nation. But what about Middle School and High Schools? Don’t those students need the same outcomes even more? However, with all of the pressure on academics, where is there time? The fact is that time needs to be incorporated into the classroom as an investment. The time spent building community will come back to us exponentially in fewer behavior issues and better student engagement. Through knowledge, communication, and collaboration, the students create a safe place for learning and achievement to take place.

Inter-generational Trauma: 6 Ways It Affects Families

We hear the use of the phrase “Intergenerational Trauma” and “Historical Trauma” but what do they really mean. It is the transmission (or sending down to younger generations) of the oppressive or traumatic effects of a historical event. One example of this can be seen in children of people who lived through the depression. If your grandmother lived through the depression, she may have developed certain behaviors that got carried down to the next generation. In my family my grandmother would save everything to reuse, like wrapping paper, bows, and even aluminum foil pieces. This was a trait that my mother carried on. She saved things because you never know when you might need something. In many families this behavior can lead to hoarding. More serious trauma such as sexual abuse is very often an intergenerational trauma. Not only are many perpetrators victims themselves, but even a parent who was abused, and has not handled their own trauma, can rarely offer support to the next generation of victims. This article discusses the common effects of intergenerational trauma and examines some ways to overcome it.

When Age Doesn’t Match Stage: Challenges and Considerations in Services for Transition-Age Youth with Histories of Developmental Trauma

Often students of transitional age who have suffered from developmental trauma are delayed in their stages of functioning. They may be and look 18, but in reality they function at the level of a significantly younger child. Unfortunately, too often, the adults working with these students have unrealistic expectations, based on chronological age. This sets these vulnerable students up for failure, and failure for them can mean homelessness and even incarceration. But with the right supports in place and an adjustment to the system’s expectations the legal age of majority can be thought of as a milestone in the journey of many.

Supporting vs Enabling

How often have you questioned yourself as to whether you are helping your child as they strive towards independence, by giving them the support they need to be successful? But when is it enabling? It’s only natural to want to shield our children from pain, fear, failure, difficulty, and embarrassment. This is especially true when the child has learning disabilities or mental health challenges. Isn’t greater stability and more independence what we want for our child? Support should always empower them to move in that direction. This article explains the difference between support and enabling, which inadvertently reinforces dependency, as well as giving examples of each.

Juvenile Justice Reform Can Help Young People ‘Turn Their Lives Around’

Former Kansas state Senator Greg Smith, and now a deputy sheriff, talks about the ways in which juvenile justice reform is essential, and possible, when you start to look at the research showing that locking up kids for low-level crimes does more harm than good. “I’ve been a cop most of my adult life, so I’m sure that my views were shaped by that. When I was out on the street, I was definitely a lock-’em-up kind of guy.” Greg sits down with The Pew Charitable Trusts to share what changed his belief system that help him to effect such changes in Juvenile Justice system, and what have been the greatest challenges in adopting and carrying out such reform.

How Rewarding Positive Behavior Turned Around Our School

Many schools are looking for opportunities to break the negative loop of behaviors and discipline. This is even harder to do with kids who have experienced trauma. “Teachers expect certain behaviors and when students can’t meet basic demands such as getting to class on time, the whole day can feel like a battle,” say Jacob Rosario of Indian Springs High School. This school has almost 2,000 students, with 85% of them eligible for free or reduced lunch, and nearly 80% of the student body are Lantinx, and 11% African-American. The students faced a plethora of problems from poverty to exposure to violence. This school broke the cycle of misbehavior by implementing a “positive” program to reward students for their good behavior. With time, teachers noticed students were using more appropriate behavior in class and, likewise, students observed that the teachers seemed happier and more positive. 

What Happened When I Committed to Loving My Students Unconditionally

Kyle Redford, daughter in-law to Robert Redford, talks about how she learned the value of trauma informed teaching – a method that helps teachers and administrators develop a more empathic style of working with students affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). She wanted her love for her students to be “super resilient and a little bit blind. Kind of the way you love your own child.” Learn how she uses compassionate curiosity to discover her students and their needs, shifting the way that she addresses a student’s struggle to meet academic and behavioral expectations.

Useful Tools and Resources

A Parents’ Guide to FBAs, Behaviors, Behavior Plans and More

A simple, easy to understand guide to what parents and SESPs should be looking at when behavior becomes an issue in the classroom. This guide breaks down the progress of when to ask for one, who should conduct it, how it should be done, as well as how to look at the behavior itself. These are important things to be considered before a behavior plan is developed. And remember behavior is simply a way to communicate some underlying issue that should be uncovered by a solid FBA.


9 Signs of Traumatic Emotional Bonding

Traumatic Emotional Bonding occurs when the victim attaches to the abuser. As strange as that may sound, it is a common phenomenon in Developmental Childhood Trauma. Often the child loves and bonds with the parent or caregiver regardless of the neglect or abuse. There are factors in life that can impact or influence the totality of the trauma experienced on the child or individual. These influences are known as risk and protective factors. Risk factors are those things that make us more vulnerable to negative influences such as substance abusing parents, poor grades and attendance in school, difficulty learning, and lack of interest in building social relationship. Protective factors make us less susceptible to the negative influence of trauma such as higher income, access to better schools, family cohesiveness, etc. Without these things, recovery and resilience will be difficult. This article not only looks at the risk factors, but uses a video to discuss some coping skills that can be used to help cope with the trauma as one begins to heal.

A Practical Skill for Defusing Anger

Dr. Marsha Linehan, the psychologist who developed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, models a simple yet effective tool to use to defuse anger that can work with people of any age. Take a look!

Social-Emotional Learning Strategies, Explained in Three Minutes

Still feeling a little murky about what is Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Take a look at this brief but comprehensive video that explains SEL in terms of understanding and implementing it in various schools.

9 Things to Know About School Resource Officers

Ever wondered about the role of a School Resource Officer? This short video provides some answers to their role, how they view that role, and how that view impacts how they carry out their jobs within our schools today.