Trauma Informed Care in the Works
When Susanna’s behavior is volatile and disruptive to the rest of the class, she is sent to the principal’s office. Her angry outbursts can be difficult to manage and she sometimes lashes out at other children. This isn’t a good situation for anyone involved–especially Susanna.
Luckily for this fourth grader, her principal has taken advantage of some extensive training in Trauma Informed Care. This principal has more tools in her toolbox now to help her students. When Susanna, or other “frequent flyers” land in the office, she now gets them a glass of water and teaches them how to take deep calming breaths. The principal understands that Susanna’s disruptive behavior is her way of communicating that all is not right in her world. The principal still discusses Susanna’s behavior with her, but now with a deeper sense of compassion. Susanna will still be held accountable for her behavior, but she now also knows that when she cannot regulate her moods, the principal can help her calm down and talk things through. This is not only a kind and patient way to operate in the world, but research also shows that this positive approach improves success in school.
Surly to Sweet
Sabrina has a very sick little boy who needs healthcare attention. More than one agency in town has told her he needs insurance–NOW! Sabrina is beyond frustrated and quite confused by all the healthcare “lingo” and rules by what she, not-so-lovingly, calls “THE COUNTY”. With her mounting anger, Sabrina arrived at Young & Healthy tired and annoyed with the world.
We were able to take care of her son’s immediate health needs and explained how he does, indeed, qualify for insurance. The Young & Healthy team was calm, respectful and used a dash of good humor with Sabrina. We could hardly believe that the same angry woman who had walked into our office was walking out laughing and hugging the staff.
Sometimes it’s not always what we do…but how we do it.
Every family needs a leader, someone who can take charge when things get rough. Sometimes we find those leaders in very young children.
Victor is only twelve-years-old but you might never guess that by his actions. Victor is the spokesperson for his family, helping his mom and little sister navigate through life in a new country where they have found themselves receiving services from a homeless program and now Young & Healthy.
Once Victor’s little sister’s severe dental pain was treated by three different volunteer dentists, his own health needs could be addressed. Victor has relentless headaches and is now being treated by a volunteer neurologist. No reason has yet been discovered for these headaches, but the Young & Healthy volunteer doctor continues to search for answers and treat him with such kindness.
Young & Healthy has embraced Victor and his family with appointments, transportation and case management services, but imagine the stress that this young family leader must be under. Perhaps his stress is the genesis of the headaches, which would not be surprising. Thanks to every advocate, every program and every volunteer doctor involved, Victor and his family continue to receive the support and care that they need.
Collaboration Leads to Positive Results for Kids
Melanie is a particularly bright young lady, especially in math. It wasn’t a big surprise that she was invited to participate in an accelerated math program at her school. The staff and volunteers at school knew that Melanie faced some challenges at home. She had no access to the internet or a telephone. However, in spite of those obstacles to learning, Melanie was thriving—a least for a while.
Little by little, several adults around her noticed that Melanie was not keeping up and seemed to struggle more and more with her school work. An alert teacher noticed that she was squinting a lot. Thinking it might be a vision issue, Melanie was referred to the school nurse. The nurse checked Melanie’s vision and also the vision of her siblings. All of the children had vision issues that warranted a call to Young & Healthy. A consultation with an optometrist promptly indicated that all three children were in need of glasses.
With the help of teachers, Young & Healthy and volunteer eye doctors working together, we can positively change the future for our community kids!
This Backpack Holds More Than Books
Young & Healthy’s newest work is in Trauma Informed Care. We are committed to bringing this knowledge to our partners in the school district. Young & Healthy is spending considerable time teaching our community about the effects of trauma on brain development, behavior and long term health. Nothing feels better than seeing knowledge turn into PRACTICE.
A local middle school teacher had a classroom that required the children to keep their backpacks on the floor in the back of the classroom. One student, Julian refused. No matter how many times the teacher requested he move his backpack, Julian vehemently refused. Frustrated, the teacher sought advice from the principal, who suggested they might use a “trauma informed” approach to understand this student’s behavior. There was gentle questioning about why Julian was being defiant. It turns out, the rule about keeping backpacks in the back of the room had been the case in another classroom as well. It was there that a precious football had been stolen. This football, had been given to Julian by his father just before he died.
What appeared to be an act of defiance was really an act of self-preservation. Giving teachers and principals the tools to look at children’s behavior with a new lens can promote kindness and trust. Instead of being punished, Julian was met with compassion and tenderness. Isn’t that a better environment for children to learn?