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SUPPORTING ABUSED CHILDREN IN THE CLASSROOM Presented by: Beverly H. Bullock, LCSW Deborah Edwards, PsyD.

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Presentation on theme: "SUPPORTING ABUSED CHILDREN IN THE CLASSROOM Presented by: Beverly H. Bullock, LCSW Deborah Edwards, PsyD."— Presentation transcript:

1 SUPPORTING ABUSED CHILDREN IN THE CLASSROOM Presented by: Beverly H. Bullock, LCSW Deborah Edwards, PsyD

2 INTRODUCTIO N History- Mary Ellen 1874 SPCA used as humans were part of the animal kingdom SPCC emerged Incidence National: 794,000 children or 10.6 children 1000 State of Virginia: 3.5 children per 1000

3 MOMENTS IN VIRGINIA Every 10 days a child dies from abuse or neglect Every 5 days a child aged 19 or younger is murdered Every 4.6 hours a family seeks shelter from a domestic violence program, but is denied for lack of space Every 5 hours a child witnesses an act of domestic violence In an average moment there are 7,786 children in foster care in Virginia Every 3 hours a child is served by a domestic violence program Every 86 minutes a child is abused or neglected Every 48 minutes a juvenile commits a violent crime

4 TYPES OF ABUSE/NEGLECT Physical Abuse Physical Neglect Emotional Abuse Sexual Abuse

5 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS Physical Abuse –Physical Indicators Unexplained bruises or burns Multiple injuries in various stages of healing Bruises/welts resembling instrument Human bite marks Injuries appearing regularly after weekends/absence Unexplained fracture, lacerations, abrasions

6 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont.) Physical Abuse –Behavioral indicators Reports injury by caretaker Uncomfortable with physical contact Complains of soreness or moves uncomfortably Wears clothing inappropriate for weather Afraid to go home Behavior extremes- withdrawn, aggressive Apprehensive when other children cry

7 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont) Physical Neglect –Physical Indicators Consistent hunger, poor hygiene Unattended physical problems or medical needs Consistent lack of supervision Abandonment

8 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont) Physical Neglect –Behavioral Indicators Reports no caretaker at home Begs, steals food Frequently absent or tardy Constant fatigue, listlessness, or falling asleep in class Extended stays at school Shunned by peers

9 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont) Emotional Abuse –Physical Indicators Frequent stomach aches, headaches May have speech disorders May lag in physical development May have non-organic failure to thrive May have learning problems

10 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont) Emotional Abuse –Behavioral Indicators Exhibits age inappropriate behaviors, such as: thumb sucking, biting, head banging or rocking Exhibits extreme behavior, such as: over compliance, passivity, aggression or withdrawal Exhibits emotional or intellectual developmental delays Exhibits cruel behavior, or may seem to get pleasure from hurting others/animals May abuse alcohol or drugs May have eating disorders

11 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont) Sexual Abuse –Physical Indicators Sexually transmitted diseases Pregnancy Difficulty walking or sitting Pain or itching in genital area Torn, stained or bloody underclothing Brusises/bleeding in external genitalia

12 PHYSICAL/BEHAVIORAL INDICATORS (cont) Sexual Abuse –Behavioral Indicators Reports sexual abuse Highly sexualized play Detailed, age inappropriate, understanding of sexual behavior Role reversal, overly concerned for siblings Exhibits delinquent behavior May attempt suicide or self-injury May have eating disorders Deterioration in academic performance

13 MANDATED REPORTING WHO REPORTS –Designated professionals- see your school policy

14 MANDATED REPORTING (cont) WHERE TO REPORT The Child Abuse Hotline: Virginia Beach: Norfolk: Chesapeake: Portsmouth:

15 MANDATED REPORTING (cont) WHAT TO REPORT Childs name, age, date of birth, address Perpetrators name, relationship to child, address, phone number Description of incident in childs words Mothers name, home and work phone number Fathers name, home and work phone number Following the call, document date and time of report CPS workers name and phone number If case is reportable and if not, reasons why it was not reportable Virginia Department of Social Services, January 2007

16 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Behaving Aggressively –Origins Identification with parent Copying parental behavior STRATEGIES FOR TEACHER * Keep your cool- children can also identify with teachers May be able to counterbalance aggression observed at home

17 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Behaving Aggressively (cont) : Anger –Origin Abused children may be outraged by their maltreatment Abused children spill their rage on safe targets such as classmates and teachers STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS –Acknowledge anger and that they are entitled to their feelings, while helping them recognize their personal symptoms of anger –Help them learn and use cooling down techniques, such as deep breathing, writing, drawing, scribbling –Encourage children to verbalize their feelings by putting their feelings into words. LISTEN. You do not have to agree, just listen

18 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Behaving Aggressively (cont): Feeling Helpless Origin child is not able to protect himself/herself Strategies for teachers * Help child obtain a positive sense of power and control over their destiny by allowing them to make choices about their work * Encourage a problem solving approach

19 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Hurting others without seeming to care –Origin Many abused children repress their feelings of hurt This repression destroys their empathy and they do not realize that others feel pain STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS –Stop the child from hurting others –Acknowledge their pain, so they will be able to acknowledge the pain of others

20 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Deliberately Annoying Others –Origin Often the abuse of children is unpredictable which makes them feel helpless; therefore, it they deliberately provoke a misbehavior, they know exactly why they are being punished and they feel more in control STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS –Make environment predictable by allowing child to know the routine –Provide advanced preparation for changes –Clearly state rules and consequences

21 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Deliberately Annoying Others (cont) –Origin Some children receive very little stimulation except when they are abused. Therefore, they may provoke punishment in order to get attention STRATEGIES FOR TEAHCERS- give positive attention –Praise them for improvement/accomplishments –Give them responsibilities in the classroom –Call them when they are absent –Listen to their ideas –Ask them to share a hobby or special knowledge with the class

22 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Being Hypervigilent –Origin Abuse is unpredictable- children never know when they are going to get it next- frozen watchfulness STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS –Provide a predictable environment –Remain calm –Do not explode in unpredictable outbursts

23 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Dissociating Themselves –Origin May become spacey in school when they experience an echo of their painful abuse STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS –Try to stand by child and gently bring them back, maybe by softly calling their name –Do not reprimand children for dissociating –Help child deal with feelings of sadness, anger and happiness

24 BEHAVIORS COMMONLY SEEN IN THE CLASSROOM Fearing Failure –Origin Some parents have unrealistically high expectations and the child is physically or emotionally abused if they do not live up to the expectation. Children may be paralyzed by the fear STRATEGIES FOR TEACHERS –Try to have a fail-safe environment in the classroom –Use a problem-solving model for dealing with misbehavior »State the problem »Brainstorm solutions »Choose a solution »Implement the solution »Evaluate »If solution fails, brainstorm other solutions

25 STRATEGIES FOR WORKING WITH ABUSED CHILDREN 1. Model appropriate behavior 2. Directly confront hurtfulness 3. Acknowledge pain and other feelings 4. Teach anger management skills 5. Teach problem-solving skills 6. Establish routines and a predictable, stable environment 7. Set fair, meaningful limits and consequences 8. Provide opportunities for choice and decision-making 9. Help children find an area of interest and expertise 10. Focus on the positive through recognition and encouragement »Reaching and Teaching Abused Children. Gootman, Marilyn E.

26 WAYS TO HELP AN ABUSED CHILD IN MY CLASSROOM For some children, the teacher may represent the childs only opportunity for a positive relationship. These children also need: –Security –Structure –Consistency and predictability –Cause-Effect Linkage –Self-Regulation

27 SOME SUCCESSFUL IDEAS FOR TEACHERS Set aside a cool down place in the classroom Give the child a set of cards with pictures of feelings and encourage the child to place the card of their feeling on their desk so you can see it Plan together with the class for time when someone becomes overwhelmed Allow the child to experience natural consequences Always interrupt inappropriate behavior and redirect the child Strategies which may help reduce childs anxiety –Sense of belonging –Appropriate touch –Approval –Help express feelings –Separate fantasy from reality without being critical –Be patient –Be a positive role-model –Reassure –The child needs to know that he/she is likeable »How Teachers Can Help: Pebble Project

28 HELPFUL WEBSITES

29 REFERENCES Virginia Department of Social Services, Jan 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2009 Virginia Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention Virginia State Police, 2007 VAdata: The Virginia Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Data Collection System 2007 Gootman, Marilyn E. Reaching and Teaching Abused Children


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