Via the Huffington Post, Education Blog
The New York Times empathetically and articulately chronicles the travails of homeless children in its recent series “Invisible Child.” Young Dasani, the centerpiece of the series, is just one of many more children than we ever imagined who are exposed to highly adverse experiences every day. Adverse childhood events can come in many forms, from living without a roof over their heads, enduring abuse, or being the victim of chronic bullying inside or outside of school to living in a home with substance abuse. Unfortunately, when these experiences become overwhelming they can cause a traumatic response that can impact even the most resilient child’s ability to be successful in school and in life.
The good news — as Principal Holmes and the teachers at the Dasani’s beloved Susan B. McKinney School demonstrate — is that schools can help children reach their potentials despite the adversity they may have faced. Until recently, an understanding of how trauma impacts learning, behavior, and relationships at school had only been acknowledged anecdotally. But public health experts, psychologists, and neurobiologists have established an incontrovertible link that can no longer be ignored within education circles. The conclusion has never been clearer: traumatic experiences that happen at any time in a child’s life can create a cascade of social, emotional, and academic problems down the road.