The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study demonstrates that virtually every school has students who have been exposed to overwhelming experiences that can impact their learning, behavior, emotion regulation, attention, impulsivity, and social interactions. Becoming more trauma sensitive, however, not only benefits the students who have experienced childhood trauma, it helps ALL children feel safe to learn, and it provides the same safe, supportive, and positive environment to the educators who interact with them every day.
This is some of the feedback teachers and staff from Lincoln Junior High School (School District 203) provided to their administration after our presentation (2017, printed with permission):
Check out this Common Ground Education podcast from November 8, 2018, in which a school social worker interviews Drs. Langes and Verhoeven about ACEs and Trauma Sensitive Schools.
Also look at this article, written by a teacher, about Trauma Sensitive Schools,
or watch this video about why we need Trauma Sensitive Schools for both students and teachers:
Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSSs) provide an environment in which both the students and the teachers feel safe and supported. TSSs understand that adults have a powerful influence on children, and therefore focuses not only on the child’s needs, but also on the adults who provide for the children in the school environment. In TSSs there is a culture of awareness of how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) affect students’ social emotional well-being and learning, and the schools equip educators and staff with the tools and strategies to do just that.
Laura Langes, Psy.D. and Marloes Verhoeven, Psy.D. provide training to schools to make the school environment more trauma sensitive, and they support educators and staff who are tasked with providing a calm, settled, and safe environment, often in the face of intense challenges, in which students are ready to learn.
We provide two training formats:
Trauma in the Classroom: What it is, why it matters, and
what you can do about it
1.5-2 hour presentation for all staff (teachers, support staff, and administration).
Addresses how trauma impacts the brain, what students’ trauma reactions look like in the school environment, and strategies staff members can implement to help students with trauma (and all students) with emotion regulation.
Presentation will be adjusted to address how trauma presents in students of different ages, given the grade levels of the school we are presenting to.
If there is only time for 1.5 hours for the presentation, we are willing to spend 30 minutes answering staff questions one-on-one, if possible for the staff.
Addressing Trauma in Schools: Intensive strategies for
student support staff
Full day institute training for psychologists, social workers, and counselors.
Reviews how trauma impacts the brain in greater depth, expands on ways in which students may present in the school environment in response to trauma or dysregulation, including dissociative (withdrawal) reactions, defiant (acting out) responses, and problems with executive functioning.
Gives concrete strategies support staff can use to de-escalate, ground, and regulate students while avoiding re-traumatization or disciplinary action. Goes into more detail on therapeutic strategies that can be used on an individual or group basis, addressing behavior, emotions, and negative beliefs/thoughts.
Also focuses on the importance of staff self-care and staff (stress) responses to traumatized and/or dysregulated students.
The content of this presentation can be adjusted as needed based on the needs expressed by staff prior to the presentation.
In addition, Drs Laura Langes and Marloes Verhoeven offer in-person consultations with staff to discuss student issues in depth and provide targeted strategies. Consultations are usually one hour but can be longer if needed.