What is Trauma-Sensitive or Trauma-Informed Care?
The term, “Trauma-Sensitive,” or “Trauma-Informed” as it is used in our school setting, refers to the way in which adults interact with students in the school setting in regards to all all aspects of their education; social-emotional, academic, and behavioral. Over the past two decades, many advancements have been made in our understanding of the impact of chronic stress or trauma on students and how this impacts their ability to learn and function in the school setting. Schools across the country, including here in Olathe, have been utilizing this research and new knowledge about neurological functioning to help improve our ability to positively impact the lives of children who face many challenges.
The primary goal in a trauma-informed program is to ensure that a student feels safe enough to learn. This feeling of safety is established through connections with caring adults who are emotionally regulated, accepting, listeners, and empathetic. By establishing feelings of safety, students are able to access the part of their brain that makes learning and thinking possible. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides an excellent description of trauma-informed systems:
- "Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery;
- Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system;
- Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and
- Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization.”