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Melissa Olson, MSW and Jessica Wicks, MSW Grief Program Coordinator and Grief Counselor Beloit Regional Hospice 655 Third Street Suite 200 Beloit, WI 53511.

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Presentation on theme: "Melissa Olson, MSW and Jessica Wicks, MSW Grief Program Coordinator and Grief Counselor Beloit Regional Hospice 655 Third Street Suite 200 Beloit, WI 53511."— Presentation transcript:

1 Melissa Olson, MSW and Jessica Wicks, MSW Grief Program Coordinator and Grief Counselor Beloit Regional Hospice 655 Third Street Suite 200 Beloit, WI and

2 Workshop Objectives Provide a brief overview of the number of grieving kids in America Discuss how children’s developmental stages impact grief Review how grief can impact school performance Review others potential issues complicating the grief process for students and their families Identify potential signs of distress Learn interventions, tools and resources to support grieving kids and families Crisis intervention strategies amidst sudden loss or school tragedy.

3 How many kids are we really talking about? National Alliance of Grieving Children estimates that 1 in 20 children under the age of 15 (2-3% of the total US population) has experienced the death of a parent. Further studies indicate that 1 in 3 individuals under the age of 18 has experienced the death of a “significant person” such as a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, etc. Roughly 4 million children nationwide.

4 Surprised? How do we know/find out? Parents/guardians New schools Suicide

5 Developmental Stages and childhood grief Concept of Death Grief Response Signs of Distress Possible Interventions

6 What’s “normal”? Grief is emotional Grief is physical Grief is psychological Grief is social Grief is spiritual

7 Grief and School Performance Inability to concentrate Decline in grades Anxiety Social withdrawal Temper tantrums/aggression Difficulty with boundaries Others?

8 Other potential complicating factors Manner of death Relationship to the deceased Family dynamics Mental health/substance abuse Multiple losses Learning, emotional, developmental disabilities The whole family is grieving

9 How can we help? Family support Constant communication with parents/guardians and teachers Normalize, normalize, normalize (even on the bad days) Identify key staff - signal Provide a safe place to “escape” if needed Peer Support Listen with both ears!!

10 Interventions & Group Activities To encourage discussion of feelings, memories, coping: Play or art therapy Journaling Feelings worksheet Candles/Rocks Memory boxes, necklaces, pillowcases Physical activity Starburst game Balloon release

11 Sudden Tragedies - Supporting students and staff Crisis intervention Set clear times and locations (school versus off-site) No agenda, but clear expectations upfront Kids will often want to meet in groups Debriefing for participating professionals Administration – Policy/Pre-planning Cautions Outside resources

12 Additional Resources Beloit Regional Hospice Children’s hospitals Dougy Center National Alliance for Grieving Children Foundation for Grieving Children Camp Hope Margaret’s Place – Milwaukee area

13 Questions??


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