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The Trauma and Attachment-Aware Classroom: A Practical Guide to Supporting Children Who Have Encountered Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences

Brooks, Rebecca. – 2020

Intended for education professionals, this guide describes the challenges of children who have been traumatized and provides practical tools teachers can use to care for these children and to give them the best possible opportunities from their education. Following an introduction, Chapter 1 explains the impact of early trauma on the attachment and development of children and the role of toxic stress and toxic shame. Chapter 2 describes the characteristics of different types of challenges traumatized children may face, including developmental trauma disorder, complex posttraumatic stress disorder, attachment disorders, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, pathological demand avoidance, speech and language disorders, sensory processing difficulties, executive functioning difficulties, physical development, and special education needs. Chapter 3 emphasizes the importance of relationships and discusses the home-school relationship, key attachment figures in school, and relationships with peers. Alternative ways of parenting hurt and traumatized children are covered in Chapter 4, including PACE (Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy) parenting, Non-Violent Resistance, Windows of Tolerance, and the Regulate, Relate, Reason approach. Chapter 5 reviews recommendations for setting up the classroom, gathering information about students, building relationships, setting expectations, and providing effective interventions and support from the start. Chapter 6 and 7 discuss systems of escalating consequences, classroom behavior charts, praise and rewards, and assisting students in transitions. Curriculum hotspots are identified in Chapter 8 and strategies are offered for navigating through, and Chapter 9 discusses strategies for handling variety and change due to theme days, holidays, school trips, and staff absences. Chapter 10 considers classroom confrontations and strategies for dealing with angry outbursts, rudeness, lying, the silent treatment, low-level disruption, stealing, and over-reacting. Final chapters discuss strategies for helping students manage outside spaces, approaches to use during testing times, and managing secondary trauma.