Dr. Howard McFarland PhD Administrator
– Lead Bishop
3675 Noland Rd #305
THE DESK OF THE BISHOP:
was going to start doing something else in my Blog this Month.
However I felt impressed
by the Spirit, to address something this Month, that I scratched the surface
on in my weekly Video. So what I was planning on doing will start in
THE DESK OF THE BISHOP;
Month, I want to Share in my Blog, something that has touched me
personally, and I feel strongly about, someone
reminded me of this, in a Post they Shared.
The Application of this touches everyone .
people think when you use the Trauma, you referring to a tragic event
that has affected someone. True this is the Foundational
aspect of Trauma, there are a lot of
layers of Trauma that we may or may not realize. As Ministers,
Counselors, we have a vast resource in the Bible, how that Trauma
and how some overcame it. I want to say that we need to be careful in
this issue. We do not want to label people or give them a excuse for
behaviors. However I feel that we need to address this issue, so we
apply Scripture, and rightly divide the Word of Truth. We have to
and Applications to the age group that we deal with.
Here are some verse you can research and study on;
23, 27, 62, 139,
is a Post I received from a Friend, this is dealing with Childhood
Trauma, however I think it is great Info. for us to explore.
I copied it off to keep for a Reference in my Office,
can do the same thing.
Trauma Informed Teacher – Silent
hate the first week of school. It fills me with anxiety and dread. I
once loved the smell of new crayons and was excited over the new
backpacks and folders. Now I worry. I parent children from hard
places; children who have experienced trauma. I’ve been lucky the
last two years. I had a teacher that “got it”. I had a teacher
that listened to me and studied up on trauma and it’s effects on
the child’s brain. She understood that unaddressed trauma generates
lifelong impacts that can end in early death. Sound extreme?
Parenting my child is life
or death and I decided to write this post to explain. I was once a
3rd grade teacher, so I know that you might be thinking this is all a
bit dramatic. However, I am now the mother of 7 and I live with the
effects of childhood trauma every day. These are the things that I
understand as a mother, a former educator and a nurse.
impacts the children in your classroom.
have sanitized trauma in our lives. Opioid crisis. Food insecurity.
Sirens and fights in the night. We don’t really think about the
smallest victims. We don’t read about the child hiding in the
backroom during a drug bust, or the baby left in an apartment tended
by his 11 year old sibling with only ramen and cereal to eat. Instead
we protect anonymity to the detriment of these children who end up in
the classroom struggling with a story that is never told. We end up
treating the traumatized by ignoring the trauma.
you are a teacher, you WILL teach children who have been traumatized.
us that more than 50% of students in the classroom have experienced
one or more adverse childhood events (ACE).The
time in life when the brain is the most sensitive to experience is
infancy and childhood.
the CDC’s ACE Study, the ten types of childhood adversity measured
sexual, verbal abuse
and emotional neglect
parent who’s an alcoholic (or addicted to other drugs) or
diagnosed with a mental illness
a mother who experiences abuse
a parent to abandonment or divorce
family member in jail
Changes the Brain
show chronic stress or unaddressed ACEs can change the chemical and
physical structures of the brain. In the classroom, children can
display traumatic stress through aggression, anxiety, defiance,
perfectionism, and withdrawal. And here’s the biggie, signs of
trauma often times look very similar to ADD,
ADHD, ODD and autism spectrum disorder.
hyperactive, and impulsive behavior may in fact mirror the effects of
trauma or adversity Children
show their emotions through behavior.
might seem like random, nonsensical or manipulative behaviors in a
child, might actually be rooted in a space called ‘FEAR’ and
pain. The emotional backpack they carry to school each day is one
that they cannot set outside your classroom door, and it will remain
heavy and forefront in their brain. It’s important to understand
that 25% to 50% of the students within your classroom, will be
affected by adverse childhood events. Trauma undermines attention,
executive functioning and working memory. When trauma causes
emotional or psychological damage to children, they may adopt a set
of behaviors or patterns of thinking that put them on a path for
further trauma. Trauma begets trauma.
students who have experienced trauma In their lives are often
operating from a primal state – always ready to fight or flee.
They have learned that the world is not a safe place. They are living
in a state of hypervigilance; their little minds have been hijacked
by their basic instincts and impulses which renders them unable to
classroom environment and schedule is your greatest weapon. Clear
expectations and schedules are everything. You can create a safe
environment that actually helps regulate the brain. Think schedules
and procedures. If a child can anticipate routine, they can feel
that a child is going into survival mode.
you notice that a child might be having a difficult time, start by
asking yourself, “What’s happening here?” rather than “What’s
wrong with this child?” For example, the student might:
a “deer-in-the-headlights” look
fidgety and squirmy
into tears or looks about ready to cry
survival mode occurs, you are not going to be able to talk and
correct the child. You need to provide a safe space and help them
regulate. This might mean sinking down to eye level and saying, “You
are safe.” and then simply step away for a while. The cure for
trauma is a safe relationship and you are going to give the child
space and environment to feel safe.
Self-Regulation through Co-Regulation
is not easy for my children and every year I walk in praying they
have a teacher that ‘gets it’. A teacher that can see how
self-regulation doesn’t exist with a child from trauma. Yes,
it sounds crazy, but this is important. Regulatory skills live
in the highest part of the brain. Dysregulation lives in the lower
parts of the brain. Trauma in a child’s life causes children to
live in the lower part of the brain and this means dysregulation, and
this looks like a child who is either hypervigilant or disassociated.
As a former teacher, I would have described this as the ADD child or
the daydreamer. I would have used stickers, rewards, and consequences
to curb this behavior…and it never worked.
works isn’t teaching self-regulation. It’s giving children
experiences of co-regulation over and over and over again. Until
their brains literally take in and imprint the regulated adult.
Children from trauma or from hard places, cannot self-regulate
because they were never given the experience of co-regulation. They
need YOU. Yes, you may be the only co-regulating adult in their life.
Relationship not Attachment – See the Goldfish
is crystal clear that relationships are the counterpoint to traumatic
stress in childhood. Dr. Bruce Perry
children need you to have a teacher relationship with them, not an
attachment. Attachment is the bond that develops between a primary
caregiver, usually the mother, and her infant. This attachment
ensures survival for the infant. My child should not attach to you as
the means to survive. However, they should have a relationship with
you as a ‘secure base’ within the school system. My child needs
you to navigate the world of school, and to point to me for
attachment. This relationship you have, will help you teach to my
child’s emotional age and not chronological. It seeks to understand
how history can cause learned helplessness and behaviors that you do
not understand.The goldfish shark is how I best describe my child and
last week I shared it with a group incarcerated mothers who “got
it” when it comes to trauma. Here’s the story I began talking
about how our children often present with behaviors that look like
the shark, but if we look below the water, we will realize they are
really just scared goldfish trying to have a need met. Their
behaviors might communicate anger and hostility, but below the
surface is fear and a hurting child. I further explained that it is
our job as parents/teachers to stop parenting the shark fin, and look
below the surface and meet the needs of the goldfish.
of the inmates raised her hand and said, . I act all tough and mean,
but I’m really just a scared fish. I wish when I was a kid, someone
would have thought to look for the goldfish, instead of just seeing
me as a shark”
all extreme behavior within the context of survival to better
understand ‘why he keeps doing that?’
is important because with every positive experience the impact on
the brain grows.
children expect the worst and focus on the negative. If you
understand this, you will be better prepared for it.
neglect is the most damaging trauma. The child must not have basic
needs threatened in any way or survival will be all they think
the point the child was abused, the brain was focused on survival
not learning. The development the child missed due to abuse will
need extra attention.
children will often score lower on IQ tests than their true ability.
Retest when their environment is helping them heal and watch the
scores go up.
goal in healing trauma is when the child becomes agitated to help
them learn skills to reduce the agitation. This repeated cycle is
what most helps the child.
play with traumatized children. Play is very healing to the brain
and the emotions.
give up hope! The human brain is capable of healing in ways we do
not yet understand. It may be a long road to healing and the child
may not get there while still in your classroom, but every situation
makes a difference.
Rev. Dr. Howard McFarland