Tips To Share!
Supporting Students Who Have Been Abused
The FLDOE Child Abuse Prevention Sourcebook for Florida School Personnel has excellent resources for schools on supporting students who have been victimized. Below is an excerpt from the Sourcebook on addressing behavioral needs, but there are other areas they address as well. You can read the full document on our website.
Children who have been maltreated sometimes find that acting out in school is the only available form of expression for their feelings of anger, fear, and guilt. It is imperative to redirect inappropriate behaviors, but remember that these children may be extremely sensitive to adult control. However, they may respond well to structure and limitations on highly stimulating tasks. The goal is to help the child build a sense of self-control that comes from the ability to predict events and participate successfully. The following strategies may help to structure learning situations in ways that may be helpful to students:Be consistent, calm, and clear in your directions. When speaking, bend down or sit down with the younger child to speak directly to him or her in a quiet voice.
Help the student realize there are consequences to behavior and the student can make a good choice to exercise control over behavior.
Provide time and reasons for the child to get up and move around to discharge some energy. Encourage structured play or exercise. Do not withhold recess, lunch, or physical education as punishment.
Avoid taking away possessions as a disciplinary measure.
Set up the classroom to help the child stay on task. Move the child’s desk closer to the teacher’s desk; use a study carrel or timer.
Avoid using corporal punishment. The child has had adults use power and force inappropriately and must be shown other ways to solve problems.
Do not allow destructive behavior as an expression of anger. Talk about appropriate release of anger. Have children demonstrate or rehearse appropriate behaviors.
Model nurturing concern toward others. Foster empathy and sensitivity to others. Verbalize those feelings and model empathetic behaviors. Watch for this behavior and praise the child when he or she is appropriately empathetic toward others.