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Trauma & Resilience: Implications for Education An Interdisciplinary Conference to Investigate How We Can Better Reach New York City’s Disconnected Youth.

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Presentation on theme: "Trauma & Resilience: Implications for Education An Interdisciplinary Conference to Investigate How We Can Better Reach New York City’s Disconnected Youth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Trauma & Resilience: Implications for Education An Interdisciplinary Conference to Investigate How We Can Better Reach New York City’s Disconnected Youth through Education and Mental Health Dr. Caroline S. Clauss-Ehlers Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University Private Practice, New York, New York An Interdisciplinary Conference to Investigate How We Can Better Reach New York City’s Disconnected Youth through Education and Mental Health Dr. Caroline S. Clauss-Ehlers Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University Private Practice, New York, New York

2 Scenario 1  The Case of Adelia  A high school freshman adjusting high school life  The Case of Adelia  A high school freshman adjusting high school life

3 Scenario 2  The case of Marielisa  A high school senior transitioning to college  The case of Marielisa  A high school senior transitioning to college

4 Defining Trauma  Psychiatric trauma -- An experience that is emotionally painful, distressful, or shocking and which may result in lasting mental and physical effects (Medical Dictionary).

5 Trauma: Symptoms  Signs of trauma vary and change as a child develops, but trauma symptoms tend to be similar within certain age groups.

6 Junior and Senior High School Symptoms  Cognitive  Problems concentrating, over concern regarding health  Physical  Headaches, vague complaints of pain, development of skin rashes, loss of appetite or overeating  Emotional  Depression, anxiety  Behavioral  Can’t meet responsibilities, resumes earlier coping styles, withdraws socially, abuse drugs/alcohol, drop in school performance, sudden changes in attitude/style/relationships  Cognitive  Problems concentrating, over concern regarding health  Physical  Headaches, vague complaints of pain, development of skin rashes, loss of appetite or overeating  Emotional  Depression, anxiety  Behavioral  Can’t meet responsibilities, resumes earlier coping styles, withdraws socially, abuse drugs/alcohol, drop in school performance, sudden changes in attitude/style/relationships

7 Factors that Increased PTSD After September 11th  Being younger (400% increase)  Family member exposed (200% increase)  Female (88%)  Prior trauma history (65%)  Physical exposure (64%)  Identified as Latino/Mixed/Other for cultural background (22-28%) (Applied Research & Consulting, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health & New York State Psychiatric Institute, 2002)  Being younger (400% increase)  Family member exposed (200% increase)  Female (88%)  Prior trauma history (65%)  Physical exposure (64%)  Identified as Latino/Mixed/Other for cultural background (22-28%) (Applied Research & Consulting, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health & New York State Psychiatric Institute, 2002)

8 Relationship Between Factors and School Environment  Youth not going to school  Latino parents fearful of sending their children to school  Responsibilities increased in response to traumatic experience  Youth not going to school  Latino parents fearful of sending their children to school  Responsibilities increased in response to traumatic experience

9 Cultural Implications of Trauma  Self-blame, gender roles & interpretation of the event (i.e., Latina woman felt she could have prevented the event, wife’s job to sacrifice)  Stigma (i.e., seeking psychological help is only for a “una loca”)  Religious persecution (i.e.,Muslims threatened)  Police presence (i.e.,unintentional re-traumatization)  Number of sessions limited (i.e., only 3 per family against cultural value personalismo)  Self-blame, gender roles & interpretation of the event (i.e., Latina woman felt she could have prevented the event, wife’s job to sacrifice)  Stigma (i.e., seeking psychological help is only for a “una loca”)  Religious persecution (i.e.,Muslims threatened)  Police presence (i.e.,unintentional re-traumatization)  Number of sessions limited (i.e., only 3 per family against cultural value personalismo)

10 Resilience to Trauma  “Process, capacity or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenges or threatening circumstances” (Masten, Best & Garmezy, 1990, p. 426)  Children develop resilience to traumatic situations in a variety of ways, but support from the family, community and school system can help the child build resilience  “Process, capacity or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenges or threatening circumstances” (Masten, Best & Garmezy, 1990, p. 426)  Children develop resilience to traumatic situations in a variety of ways, but support from the family, community and school system can help the child build resilience

11 Moving Towards Resilience: Culturally Inclusive Responses to Trauma  Cultural Framework  Search for the meaning of suffering and pain in relation to the culture  Search for the meaning of death/life in the culture  Traditions may help survivors feel re- connected (Clauss-Ehlers, C.S., Acosta, O., & Weist, M.D. (2004). Responses to terrorism: The voices of two communities speak out. In C.S. Clauss-Ehlers & M.D. Weist (Eds.), Community planning to foster resilience in children (pp ). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic Publishers.)  Cultural Framework  Search for the meaning of suffering and pain in relation to the culture  Search for the meaning of death/life in the culture  Traditions may help survivors feel re- connected (Clauss-Ehlers, C.S., Acosta, O., & Weist, M.D. (2004). Responses to terrorism: The voices of two communities speak out. In C.S. Clauss-Ehlers & M.D. Weist (Eds.), Community planning to foster resilience in children (pp ). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic Publishers.)

12 Moving Towards Resilience: Cultural Inclusive Responses to Trauma  Practical Problems  Deal with the immediate problems that the individual is having difficultly handling  Build Trust  Assist with financial resources  Help survivors focus on something tangible that they can accomplish over the next few days  Practical Problems  Deal with the immediate problems that the individual is having difficultly handling  Build Trust  Assist with financial resources  Help survivors focus on something tangible that they can accomplish over the next few days

13 Moving Towards Resilience: Cultural Inclusive Responses to Trauma  Specific Cross- Cultural Interventions  Reduce isolation  Relaxation techniques/Meditation  Education about crisis in culturally relevant terms  Community techniques  Eye contact, pace of conversation, body language  Specific Cross- Cultural Interventions  Reduce isolation  Relaxation techniques/Meditation  Education about crisis in culturally relevant terms  Community techniques  Eye contact, pace of conversation, body language

14 Junior and Senior High School Interventions  Provide extra consideration and attention  Be available to listen but don’t force students to discuss experiences  Encourage discussion of trauma experiences among peers  Promote involvement with community recovery work  Encourage participation in physical activities  Encourage resumption of a regular routine  Provide extra consideration and attention  Be available to listen but don’t force students to discuss experiences  Encourage discussion of trauma experiences among peers  Promote involvement with community recovery work  Encourage participation in physical activities  Encourage resumption of a regular routine

15 Influences on Educational Resilience Classroom Practices 53.3 Home & Community 51.4 Curriculum Design & Delivery 47.2 School-wide Practices & Policies 45.1 State & District Policies (Wang, M et al. Fostering Educational Resilience in Inner-City Schools, 1997) 34.5

16 Importance of Classroom Practices  Classroom practices  Set high standards for all students, lots of student/teacher interaction, maintain a high level of student engagement, and tailor instruction to the needs of students, create a high achievement classroom setting  Teacher  Concern, expectations & role modeling to reduce academic failure  Close teacher/student relationships can reduce stress and provide support  Classroom practices  Set high standards for all students, lots of student/teacher interaction, maintain a high level of student engagement, and tailor instruction to the needs of students, create a high achievement classroom setting  Teacher  Concern, expectations & role modeling to reduce academic failure  Close teacher/student relationships can reduce stress and provide support

17 Importance of the Family  Despite limited resources and severe hardship, home environment provides support and resources  Positive factors: positive parent/child relationship(s), family cohesion, assigned chores, responsibilities for the family’s well- being  School attendance & achievement positively influenced by parents who monitor television viewing, read to young children on a daily basis, and express high expectations for academic success  Despite limited resources and severe hardship, home environment provides support and resources  Positive factors: positive parent/child relationship(s), family cohesion, assigned chores, responsibilities for the family’s well- being  School attendance & achievement positively influenced by parents who monitor television viewing, read to young children on a daily basis, and express high expectations for academic success

18 Importance of Curriculum  Research suggests that the average remedial education program often adds to children’s learning problems  Need learning activities and materials that promote higher levels of thinking and are responsive to student diversity  Enhance students’ motivation and promotes educational resilience  Research suggests that the average remedial education program often adds to children’s learning problems  Need learning activities and materials that promote higher levels of thinking and are responsive to student diversity  Enhance students’ motivation and promotes educational resilience

19 Importance of Community  Communities that promote high moral & academic expectations help foster resilience  Social support helps to increase opportunities for children to develop new interests and skills  Communities that promote high moral & academic expectations help foster resilience  Social support helps to increase opportunities for children to develop new interests and skills

20 Educational Opportunity Fund Research on College Age Transitions: A Model for Other States  Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) programs were developed in New Jersey to provide access to higher education for financially disadvantaged students who are first- and second- generation college attendees  First-generation means neither guardian earned a baccalaureate degree  Second-generation means guardians earned at least one baccalaureate degree  Students must pass this 6-week program in order to gain admissions to a 4-year college institution (Clauss-Ehlers, C.S., & Wibrowski, C. (2007). Building resilience and social support: The effects of an educational opportunity fund academic program among first- and second-generation college students. Journal of College Student Development, 24(5), )  Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) programs were developed in New Jersey to provide access to higher education for financially disadvantaged students who are first- and second- generation college attendees  First-generation means neither guardian earned a baccalaureate degree  Second-generation means guardians earned at least one baccalaureate degree  Students must pass this 6-week program in order to gain admissions to a 4-year college institution (Clauss-Ehlers, C.S., & Wibrowski, C. (2007). Building resilience and social support: The effects of an educational opportunity fund academic program among first- and second-generation college students. Journal of College Student Development, 24(5), )

21 EOF Program Intervention  6-week institute that met 5 days a week for approx. 7.5 hours a day  Supportive components  Each student assigned an EOF counselor  Counseling on personal and academic issues  Academic components  Introduction to college English & math, a science course in biology or geology, a course on strategies for academic success, public speaking course  6-week institute that met 5 days a week for approx. 7.5 hours a day  Supportive components  Each student assigned an EOF counselor  Counseling on personal and academic issues  Academic components  Introduction to college English & math, a science course in biology or geology, a course on strategies for academic success, public speaking course

22 Positive Effects of EOF Results indicate that the summer EOF academic institute was associated with significant increases in resilience and participant’s sense of social support from program staff and peers

23 Importance  If educators and psychologists gain greater understanding of the processes that promote resilience in youth, they will be in a better position to support strengths and coping among all our children

24 Q & A


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