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Session #16 The Trauma Informed Paraeducator

  2. WHY TRAUMA? • ITS COMMON - Trauma is EXTREMELY PREVALENT in school-age children. Out of a typical high school class of 45 only 7 have no ACEs. 45% have 3 or more! • BEHAVIOR - The emotional dysregulation, hyper-vigilance, hyper-arousal social misperception associated with trauma FREQUENTLY result in behavior problems in the classroom • DIFFERENT RESPONSE -Adults response to students with trauma often serves to INCREASE difficulties, increase arousal, and decrease trust. • DIFFRERENT APPROACH – Trauma requires a different approach to understanding students, and creating interventions that lead to success
  3. ACES – ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES • Original study of Trauma was conducted in the Keiser Health system in the 1990s. • 10 types of ACE’s or “Adverse Childhood Experiences” in 3 categories were identified: • ABUSE: Physical, Sexual, Emotional • NEGLECT: Physical, Emotional • HOUSEHOLD: Family members incarcerated, mental illness, parental separation, substance abuse, domestic violence. • ACEs tend to occur in clusters.
  4. ACES IMPACTS • ACEs have an enormous impact on school age students: • Neurological development • Decreased resilience • Mental illness (increased rates) • Increased stress response (fight or flight) • Low emotional regulation • Hyper-vigilance • Social misattributions (hostile bias) • Academic difficulties • Problems with Concentration and attention • Difficulty trusting others • Low self-worth & self concept, sense of agency • High risk behaviors (substance abuse, domestic violence, etc) • Long-term health problems and early morbidity
  5. ACES IMPACTS • Students at risk: Compared to someone with no ACES students are: • 3 times more likely to experience academic failure • 4 times more likely to have reported poor health • 5 times more likely to have severe attendance problems • 6 times more likely to evident school behavior problems • Impacts Vary by: • Point in time trauma occurs • Nature of adverse experience • Relational environment & supports present • Students resilience
  7. RESILIENCE • Resilience = An adaptive response in the face of stress. Just as the brain can change in response to negative stress it can also change to become more resilient! • A KEY GOAL OF A TRAUMA-INFORMED CLASSROOM IS TO BUILD STUDENTS RESILIENCE
  8. WHAT BUILDS RESILIENCE? • Relationships: At least one stable & supportive caring adult relationship • A Sense of Mastery: A sense of mastery or self-efficacy • Well-developed coping skills: skills at regulating emotions, inhibiting impulses to consider multiple options • Supportive & Affirming Faith & Cultural Traditions: Faith, culture & community supports. • HOW DO YOU HELP? • Build that relationships • Support kids with things that they are good at, develop skills • Teach: self-regulation, planning and problem solving skills • Connect: Kids to faith, culture, and community
  9. REGULATION • Regulation – The ability to impact your own thinking, attention, emotions and physical sensations. All of these can be impacted by ACEs. • Top Down Control: Using thinking to regulate. • Bottom Up Control: when you are overwhelmed by automatic arousal process
  10. HOW REGULATION DEVELOPS • Developmental Pathway • Absolute Dependency: Fetus is 100% dependent on mother to regulate. • Co-Regulation: Mothers help infants and small children regulate because they can’t do so on their own. • Care-giver Directed Regulation: Over time, caregivers direct kids to use strategies until kids can learn… • Self Regulation: The ability to regulate independently.
  11. ACES DISRUPT THE REGULATION PATHWAY • There are two important conditions that facilitate growth in regulations skills from total dependency to self- regulation: • 1. supportive caregiving and • 2. stable, safe, and predictable environments. ACEs often involve disruptions in these conditions. For children with ACEs: • regulation skills may not develop normally • The brain and nervous system may be overly reactive and oriented toward “fight or flight” responses • They may be hyper-vigilant to and over-focused on threat and safety • They may be prone to misperceive people’s intentions and events in their environment as threatening
  12. CO-REGULATION • When students with ACEs are upset, they may not be able to calm themselves down. • Students may need YOU to help them • Students will likely rely heavily on your non-verbal interaction with them (rather than what you say) • REGULATE – First help students become calm • RELATE – Then listen • REASON – Then, if ready, reason and problem solve. Don’t start here.
  13. HOW CAN YOU HELP STUDENTS LEARN TO REGULATE? • Teach students the skill of self-monitoring: How do you observe, track and become more aware of your own thoughts, feelings? Teach students words to describe thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. • Help students find new strategies that are similar to the way a student currently regulates in two important ways: • Does the student use physical / sensory or cognitive strategies? • Does the student attempt to regulate alone or involve others? • Find a similar strategy
  14. REGULATION SKILLS • Help students build skill sets that help students modify the way they currently attempt to regulate by: • Help them identify a range of options they can use to regulate • Use word or picture lists to aid them in remembering and identifying these options • Provide students with opportunities to practice different ways to regulate • Help student identify and evaluate the effectiveness of behaviors that are successful • Students will rely on your modeling to help them.
  15. TRAUMA-INFORMED CLASSROOMS • THREE KEY GOALS • Predictability • Safe Relationships / Engagement • Opportunities for Regulation
  16. PREDICTABILITY • Students with ACEs do not respond well to the unexpected. • 1. Post and follow a regular schedule • 2. Make students aware of changes. • 3. Designate spaces for specific activities. • 4. Post and teach routines, stay consistent
  17. SAFE RELATIONSHIPS & ENGAGEMENT • 1. Seat kids in proximity to staff, facing forward – make it easy to interact, get feedback and cues • 2. Seat kids facing toward teacher. • 3. Arrange class so kids entering, exciting and moving around causes minimal distraction. • 4. Establish classroom Rituals – like morning meetings, afternoon goodbyes, compliments etc – that foster sense of belonging. • CLASSROOM RITUALS • - Provide consistency • - Help students become regulated. • - Transition into academic work • - Help students learn and practice engagement skills • - Have fun • - Develop sense of belonging • - Develop relationships
  18. OPPORTUNITIES FOR REGULATION • 1. Planned Regulation Activities: Movement breaks, exercise, calming routines. • 2. Calming Space: Place students can go if they are dysregulated. • 3. Visual Supports: Students with ACEs pay less attention to words than visuals.
  19. STRATEGIES FOR CO-REGULATION WHAT DO WE DO IN RESPONSE TO BEHAVIOR? • Problem Solving • Working towards rewards • Learning from consequences • Social Skill Development • Academics • Relationship Building • ALL THESE REQUIRE A PERSON BE REGULATED…
  21. CO-REGULATION IS •A right-brain (i.e. emotional) and primarily non- verbal process. • 93% OF HUMAN COMMUNICATION IS NON-VERBAL OR PARAVERBAL
  23. HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO • 1. Check yourself – Make sure you understand your own stress level, triggers and can regulate yourself before you react. • 2. Focus on what’s behind the behavior – many students with ACEs act like they do for a reason. Have empathy – this is part of a normal stress response. • 3. Remember to regulate – relate and then reason. • Many of our students with ACEs don’t have experience with adults in their life • - Asking for their opinion • - Requesting they express emotion • - Asking them to solve a problem through verbal dialogue. • - Wanting to listen to their explanations.
  24. QUICK REGULATION MODEL • STEP ONE: •REGULATE YOURSELF • MANTRA: “Quiet mind & quiet body • SELF ASSESSMENT • What thoughts am I having? • What feelings am I experiencing • What state of arousal am I in? • Where is my attention • CRITICAL QUESTION: AM I READY TO CO-REGULATE
  25. CRITICAL QUESTION: AM I READY??? • NO • My Feelings: Are not calm (scared, excited, angry etc…) • My Thoughts • I can’t let them get away with it • What will everyone think • I’m in a hurry • I have to be right! • I need to make my point! • I need the last work • She’s getting a consequence • YES • My Feelings: Calm • My Thoughts: • I’m ready to prioritize calming techniques and I don’t have another agenda.
  26. CALMING DOWN • Things to Remember • Backing off is not backing down • Regulation is not a battle • No one wins or loses • This is faster than arguing with an escalated person. • Tools • Slow down your thoughts and self talk • Slow down your rate of speech and actions. • Take slow deep breaths with a focus on exhalation. • Drop your other concerns and expectations for the moment.
  27. STEP TWO: ASSESS THE STUDENT • WHAT IS THE STUDENT… • Doing? • Saying? CRITICAL QUESTION: What is the communication mean? Back off? I need help? I’m really frustrated I’m Scared…
  28. AGITATION BEHAVIORS • Agitation Indicators • Increased or decreased eye, body and hand movement • Cryptic or no speech • Questioning, arguing • Non-compliance – defiance • Verbal abuse • Disruption or bothering others • Destroy property • Test limits • Whine/cry • Threaten • Avoid or escape • Off task • Use engagement behaviors to get predictable response from others • Physical Aggressions • Self-harm • Confusion • Withdrawal
  29. STUDENT ASSESSMENT • Observe • Non-verbal behaviors • Eye contact, tone, rate of speech • What is their response timing, how intense is it • Pay attention to red vs. green light signals • How far is the student off baseline • CRITICAL DECISIONS • 1. Approach and regulate or • 2. Give the student space.
  30. STEP 3: USE REGULATION STRATEGIES • YOUR MINDSET: • The student is trying to communicate something (example: “I am overwhelmed) • I can tolerate the student’s emotional experience • Non-defensive ( I don’t have to defend myself or be right right now) • I want to understand more • I can hold off what I need right now • The student has some valid needs and feelings • I’m not going to be able to teach the student new skills or insights until they are regulated.
  31. VERBAL STRATEGIES • Listen: More than you talk! • Reflect: ”What I hear you saying is…” • Acknowledge/Validate: Show that you understand how the person is feeling (they don’t have to be accurate for you to do this.) • Don’t Analyze!: Don’t be a therapist • Don’t give Advice: That’s not what escalated people want.
  32. NON-VERBAL STRATEGIES •Slow Down: Slow down your movements and rate of speech. Everything you do should be more rhythmic
  33. NON-VERBALS • Tone • Rate of speech • Choice of words • Facial expression • Voice volume • Gestures • Smile vs. Frown • Personal distance
  34. SELF CARE: ITS PART OF YOUR JOB • ACEs & Stress: Working with students with ACEs can be stressful • Feeling responsible to help • Feeling powerless • Vicarious traumatization • Worrying about students • SELF-CARE is not selfish. You are the vehicle for all the healing and learning that takes place in your students, Take care of your mind, body and spirit.
  35. WE ALL HAVE ACES • What if I have ACES? – Many people after learning about ACEs believe they may have experienced ACEs also. • Trauma treatments are well- developed and effective and can help people who have trouble be happier. • Your school may have an EAP that gives you counseling sessions – Find a good match for you.
  36. THANK YOU PARAEDUCATORS!!! • WILL HENSON • Clinical Director 321insight • Special Education Consultant • •