Spokane, WA, students’ trauma prompts search for solutions

Any experienced teacher will tell you that every class has a few: children who can’t focus, can’t sit still, who fight at the slightest provocation, or perhaps withdraw completely.

These kids are usually labeled as “bad”, “out of control” or “willful”. But brain research has shown that these kids aren’t intentionally bad. Their brains are shorting out from an overload of toxic stress.

Prompted by results from a large study of Spokane, WA, schoolchildren that showed how childhood trauma is taking more of a toll than many imagined, an innovative project is underway that will test three types of intervention in 900 families that participate in Spokane’s Head Start program.

The study of 2,100 children was done in ten elementary schools in Spokane, WA, in late 2010. The study found not only that trauma is common in kids’ lives – trauma includes divorce, homelessness, witnessing family violence, involvement with child protective services, a family member abusing alcohol

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Roundup: “Quiet Time” at school; $3.2M grant for child trauma in CT; child welfare workshops

In Visitacion Valley Middle School, an urban middle school in South San Francisco, CA, students start and end their days with 15 minutes of meditation, according to this wonderful post by Kyle Palmer on KQED’s State of Health blog. Since the school started the program, fewer teachers have resigned, student attendance rate is at 98 percent, suspensions are down and grades are up. The program was put together by the David Lynch Foundation and the San Francisco-based Center for Wellness and Achievement in Education (CWAE), which trained teachers and counseled students on meditation techniques.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families has been given a $3.2 million grant “to improve the way the agency, community-based clinics and social workers statewide handle children affected

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Roundup: Time to change FL spanking law? Toxic stress and kids

Devery Broox was found not guilty of child abuse after “berating a 7-year-old boy, shaving his eyebrows and head as punishment and forcing him to do calisthenics,” said this report by Susan Jacobson in the Orlando Sentinel. “At one point, a slapping sound and the wailing of a child could be heard off camera.” Even though some jurors shirked in horror at the video that Broox had posted, Florida law says it’s not a crime “to impose reasonable physical discipline on a child for misbehavior … even though physical injury resulted from the discipline.” It’s worth taking a look at the video accompanying the text story, because Broox talks about his own past discipline, which he regards positively, including being paddled by a football coach and doing pushups as punishment. Elizabeth Gershoff, associate professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, did a 2008 study that found that parents “are legally permitted to administer physical punishment in all states except Minnesota,” according to the story.

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Helping traumatized disaster victims; Rhianna-Brown brouhaha; Maine’s new DV bills

IsraAID has been helping Japan’s tsunami victims by providing training to handle post-traumatic stress disorder, according to this very touching story by Boaz Arad on JTA.org. IsraAID organizes art, music, movement and drama therapy sessions as a mostly nonverbal method  to help people express their feelings.

And, in Haiti, a team from the Center for Mind-Body Medicine is training 120 health care workers to use CMBM’s mind-body techniques to help Haitians still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder from the 2010 earthquake. It’s the second time that the Washington, D.C.-based organization has done a training session in Haiti.

In case you haven’t heard about the Rhianna-Chris Brown brouhaha….he brutally attacked her in 2009,

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Roundup: Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, Britain efforts to stop family violence; SF’s got it right; Iowa police chiefs want more help for families

In Lebanon, where it’s not against the law for men to physically or sexually abuse their wives, about 300 people rallied over the weekend “to raise awareness of Lebanon’s lack of laws protecting women from domestic abuse,” says Brooke Anderson’s report on Lebanon’s Dailystar.com. The country’s legislature has been sitting on a domestic violence bill since 2010.

In Turkey, where 40 percent of women have reported experiencing violence at some point in their lives, the Istanbul

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Our stories: Linda Lee’s introduction to her healing

Linda Lee, whose profession is in sales and marketing, is beginning to write her story. Here’s the first part.

How do I begin to tell my story when there are so many layers, years passed, time that can never be replaced?  I ask myself this question often… In truth…I perfected how to be a chameleon as an adult.  This is how I survived.

There is so much screaming to come out of me, and each time, I hesitate. Do I want to open another door?  Do I have a choice in how I make agreements with myself on what I want to remember and don’t?

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Roundup: FL child-abuse agency changes; child trauma effects on adult brain; Fargo, ND, police in DV workshop

Roundup: FL child-abuse agency changes; child trauma effects on adult brain; Fargo, ND, police in DV workshop

Here’s an interesting writeup by Donna Koehn on TBO.com of how the state is switching to a new agency to supervise child abuse in Hillsborough County to try to reduce child deaths and a 40-percent staff annual turnover rate. In “Agency will review all open child abuse cases“, Koehn notes that in addition to better recruiting of staff, seven weeks of training and a gradual increase in caseload to 18 (the Child Welfare League of America recommends 12), the new agency, Eckerd, plans on paying for employees’s master’s degree sin social work.  It’s interesting because it shows just how dire this situation became before changes were implemented. Is this happening in other states?

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