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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