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January 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.

Feature Article

Prioritizing Health and Wellness: Self-care strategies for adult caregivers and staff who support high risk children by Cherose Walker, M.B.A., M.Ed.

For 12 years, I worked with students, families, teachers, and administrators in the Boston Public Schools. As an educator and student support coordinator, I became an “expert” in supporting high-risk students and families who were navigating–and often struggling through–the academic, social, and emotional challenges of home and school. As a trauma counselor, I developed and encouraged self-care practices for teachers and school administrators risking burnout while acting as caregivers and second-hand witnesses to trauma. These self-care practices were exceedingly necessary, as compassion fatigue can wear on the mind, body, and soul, and is only compounded by the many demands of working in a public school.      Read Full Article

Things to Consider…

ESSA and the Dirty A- Word

On any given day, in the U.S., the Juvenile Justice System serves over 60,000 youth, many entering with significant educational challenges. The accountability, now required by Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), can be challenging. It is often viewed as a punitive system rather than a means for continual improvements.  This article looks at those challenges and possible outcomes from ESSA for students in the system.
 
Assessment of Complex Trauma

Often children in the Child Welfare System are perceived as challenging and difficult students. Many times they are diagnosed with multiple mental health disorders, such as ADHD for inattentiveness or Oppositional Defiant Disorder because their behaviors are viewed as defiant rather than “striving for control with matters beyond their control.” Are we seeing the whole child if we fail to look at the child through the lens of trauma? These children often display a wide range of developmental impairments including difficulty developing and sustaining relationships, behavioral issues, emotional problems, dissociation, learning disabilities, and even chronic health problems. Their complicated symptom presentation often leads to multiple diagnoses and potential misdiagnoses, particularly when the impact of their complex trauma histories goes unrecognized. Let us look at why a complex trauma assessment may be a necessary cause of action.
 
Why we can’t always stop what we’ve started

Ever wonder why a child can’t stop doing something mid process, even when they are told to? No, the child is not being defiant. It’s all in the brain! Researchers have determined that the decision to change one’s mind, mid process must happens in less than half a millisecond in order to change the movement, once the “go” signal has been initiated. This process requires three sections of the brain to communicate in order to stop. This may give insight to why children with limited neuro-connections have an even harder time controlling their behaviors.
 
New Report: School Resource Officers, Girls of Color, and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

From 1970 to present day the number of School Resource Officers (SRO) has grown from 100 to over 30,000 in schools across this country. These SROs see their roles as ensuring safety in school, but not involving disciplinary issues. Even so, most teachers utilize the SRO in their schools to enforce discipline. Why is the distinction important? Because girls of color are 4 times more likely to be arrested for minor disruptive behaviors, while in school, than their white peers. So where can we begin to change this outcome?
 
How to Foster Resilience in Kids: Why it takes a caring community to help kids recover from trauma

What is Resilience? “Resilience is the attainment of desirable social and emotional adjustment despite exposure to considerable risk.” (Alan Ravitz, MD,MS). Dr. Ravitz believes that it is not the adverse experience that causes the trauma, but the failure to recover from the experience, and the maladaptive response to that experience. So what is the ky to recovery? Support. A child’s response to that experience depends, not only in the child’s temperament, their past experiences, but also on the response after the experience. How the individual’s community responds will greatly impact the ultimate outcome.
 
Young Children in Court: Should second graders be shackled?

“In Massachusetts, children between the ages of 7 and 11 can be arrested, prosecuted, and locked up!” Studies show that children the ages of 11 to 13 understand considerably less about the legal system, their defense, and therefore the consequences for their offenses, than do 14 and 15 year olds. Are the courts equipped to assess the appropriate needs of such young offenders verses the Child Requiring Assistance Program (CRA)?

Useful Tools and Resources

19 Things to Do with Anger Other Than Explode

Have a student with anger management issues? Have a team looking for some different ideas to help your student and the team? Well try to Blow up a balloon. Imagine taking all of the anger and blowing up a balloon the size of a house. Then give the balloon a kick and send it to the heavens!
 
A Two-Minute Video Explains Why Jail Is Not the Answer for Youth Crime

We live in a world of punitive corrections for our actions. Whether it is intentional crime, or a misstep or mistake, often the punishment is the same. Unfortunately too often in our juvenile justice system, the punishment doesn’t always fit the crime. Of the number of kids that get arrested, only 5% commit violent crimes, but the other 95% often get sentenced to the same punishment, jail, especially in communities of color. Leaving society to question, should youth suffer lifelong consequences for juvenile offenses?
 
Resilience

We hear a lot about resiliency, but how does one develop it? Is it developed or are you born with it? Well maybe it’s a little of both. Research has been looking at this question of resilience and how some children with adversities have it and some don’t. It seems that it is a balance between relationships and coping skills. Often it has been said that a child with even one meaningful adult relationship can develop resiliency to adversities. There are the questions of coping skills and their development that also comes into play, such as the ability to handle moderate or “positive” stress that help a child to build capacity for resilience.
 
Attachment and Trauma Network (ATN) Memberships

ATN is offering FREE basic memberships to all of the families of traumatized children served by the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Federation services can include accessing trainings, resources or support. These families can sign up using the following link and should cite the Federation for Children with Special Needs as the referring Professional Member:  https://www.attachmenttraumanetwork.org/freejoin/

Featured Article Continued… 

Prioritizing Health and Wellness: Self-care strategies for adult caregivers and staff who support high risk children by Cherose Walker, M.B.A., M.Ed.

 
For 12 years, I worked with students, families, teachers, and administrators in the Boston Public Schools. As an educator and student support coordinator, I became an “expert” in supporting high-risk students and families who were navigating–and often struggling through–the academic, social, and emotional challenges of home and school. As a trauma counselor, I developed and encouraged self-care practices for teachers and school administrators risking burnout while acting as caregivers and second-hand witnesses to trauma. These self-care practices were exceedingly necessary, as compassion fatigue can wear on the mind, body, and soul, and is only compounded by the many demands of working in a public school.
 
I, too, have had to create a personal self-care plan to ensure that I did not fall prey to burnout. My favorite quote and reminder to others is “What good are you going to be for other people, if you’re not good to yourself?” We are often considered selfish if we choose to prioritize our needs above others. However, this “selfishness” is necessary when you work in the service of others. To do your best, you must be your best, and those in your care will be negatively affected if you fail to take care of yourself. As a caregiver, you must be steadfast in your commitment to a self-care routine that supports you mentally, physically, and spiritually. My presentation for RTSC’s January 23, 2018 webinar will help you do just that!
 
Participants will be able to:
 
1. Determine who their support systems are and how to utilize them effectively. 
2. Create consistent self-care routines and practices.
3. Determine who their solid accountability partner is, so that they can stay committed to their self-care practices.
 
Cherose Walker is a mother and a former special education teacher. She has a trauma counseling background, and has worked with children ages 4-22. She currently works as Trauma and Student Support Consultant, and Life Coach. Cherose has a special interest in providing coaching support related to self- care and healthy lifestyle practices.  

For more on this topic, click to register to attend our January 23rd webinar: Prioritizing Health and Wellness: Self-care strategies for adult caregivers and staff who support high risk children by Cherose Walker, M.B.A., M.Ed.

 

*Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure that the contents of Consider This… is accurate, the Federation for Children with Special Needs makes no representations or warranties in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information found within the enclosed articles. The contents within this transmission are provided in good faith, and nothing included in it should be taken to constitute or imply professional advice, an endorsement or a formal recommendation.