The biological mother of "Jailyn" had turned her over to her cousins when she was several months old and they became her custodial parents. That is, until the custodial father fatally shot the mother while the girl was in the house.
Now living in foster care, she has angry outbursts in the classroom that include screaming at her teacher and kicking objects. When she hears a loud noise, she thinks it’s a gun.
Her 6th-grade teacher says she is slow to complete schoolwork, appears disorganized, and has difficulty regularly following classroom routines.
Discussing this fictional case study last week were Melissa Fox, a special education teacher; Kasey Thompson, a youth development consultant; Dina Mitchell, the parenting and early childhood director at an emergency shelter; and Soley Berrios, a college access counselor. They talked about ways that teachers, counselors, and other education professionals could help the Jailyns of the school system get past the traumas of their early years enough to succeed in school and in life.
“Find someone she trusts, hopefully,” Fox said as the group and others started a discussion that would continue throughout the day.
The groups were participating in the three-day Greater Philadelphia Trauma Training conference, held last week at Philadelphia University.
Jeanne Felter, director of the university’s Community and Trauma Counseling Program, said the conference was designed to promote interdisciplinary approaches for dealing with traumatized children by bringing together professionals who worked in mental health, education, medicine, and juvenile justice.
About 360 people from the Philadelphia area and across the Eastern seaboard attended, she said, and about of 100 of them work with K-12 students.
The first two days of the conference emphasized the basics of trauma-informed work with children from the vantage points of K-12 education, early childhood education, behavioral health, medicine, and juvenile justice.
To read the full article by Paul Jablow, click here.