Students who have suffered through traumatic events in their lives often have behavior issues and problems maintaining good grades in school. While a few kids don’t seem affected by troubling circumstances in their lives, for the majority, it is an issue to face now and in the future.
How Is Trauma Defined?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration classifies trauma as an event, or events, that either harms an individual physically or emotionally or threatens an individual’s life. It also usually has a long-lasting effect on the person.
There are plenty of traumatic issues that can significantly affect a child’s life now and in the future. Just a handful of them are:
- Death in the family
- Substance abuse by members of the family
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Family members having problems with the law
- Mental illness
- Financial difficulties
There is an excellent chance that the average classroom will have plenty of students who have been troubled with at least one of the problematic events from above.
And like stated above, a handful of students may undergo the same dramatic event and respond entirely differently to it. Some may essentially shrug it off, while others will constantly revisit them, consciously or subconsciously, in their minds. This could then lead to them derailing their classroom because of their misconduct.
Ideas for Creating a Supportive Trauma-Sensitive Classroom or Home
A trauma-sensitive environment will have noticeable differences from regular classrooms or homes. Here are just a few ideas for creating your trauma-sensitive atmosphere.
- The lighting may be different in a trauma-sensitive environment. Dimmed lights are often used, and the colors are primarily soft and warm as these can promote a calming atmosphere. Plus, essential oils and candles are sometimes used as well.
- Desks are arranged at the discretion of the teacher. Instead of purely having desks in straight rows, the desks could be gathered together in groups or separated even more to allow space. It all depends on the needs of the students. Some students may need that extra space not to interact with other students if they are in a negative mood.
- Cushioned seating is present in a trauma-sensitive classroom. It is a place where students can take a book, stretch out, and read for a bit to get their minds off of trouble. Soft, comfy places will give students a place to keep calm and escape their problems for a short while as they feel safe in this atmosphere.
- Providing cubby holes for children to escape in while they are working or resting should be beneficial to them. Also, alternative types of seating such as rocking chairs and yoga balls should be contemplated.
- A supportive environment will have encouraging artwork and posters that correspond with the children’s issues.
- A trauma-sensitive space should have plenty of books to choose from that may help the children overcome and understand a few of their problems because of the events they have experienced.
Create a Supporting Environment
It will often come down to the adults who are providing these students who have suffered through traumatic events a positive role model to look up to and guide the way. It is up to them to create a nurturing atmosphere to counteract the chaos. A place where empathy and responsibility go hand in hand. And while traumatic events cannot be overcome instantly, providing students a safe classroom and home with sensitive peers and a qualified teacher is a great start.
Need to Find the Right Tutor?
A little additional help for these students struggling to maintain good grades could be just what they need as well. Luckily, iAchieve has professional tutors to choose from to assist students in virtually any subject. This tutoring can be accomplished in person or remotely online.