The annual review of Jason’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is coming up, but he’s made little or no progress in meeting the goals the IEP team had set last year. What to do - lower his goals or replace them, modify rewards until greater progress is made?
Or ponder whether something unknown is keeping him from handling his stress; causing him to be restless and unfocused, disruptive in the classroom, always seeming to be sad or too easily provoked into angry outbursts. It could be worthwhile finding out if something deep-seated is preventing Jason from doing better at school and having an easier time relating to others. A trauma sensitive assessment could answer that question.
IEP MODIFICATION STUDY
STUDY OVERVIEW: Helping children with trauma improve their ability to function in a school environment
LATO has initiated a study to help children affected by trauma improve their ability to function in a school environment. The purpose of this research is to develop and explore a psycho-social-behavioral model for helping children with this problem. A goal of the study is to investigate the usefulness of including a trauma sensitive assessment to the current Individualized Education Program (IEP) for children with behavioral and emotional difficulties. The addition of this instrument will augment the work of individuals involved in the welfare of children who are exhibiting the effects of trauma. These supporters will be enabled to appropriately develop approaches, resources, services and accommodations that will address the specific needs of these children.
A protocol will be designed to a) empower the children with strategies that will enable them to better manage internal and external stress affecting their behavior and responses to others, b) train teachers and school counselors in trauma focused approaches that are useful to helping these children restore capacities necessary for learning and functioning in peer and other relationships, and c) educate parents and caretakers about the impact of trauma on the child, and support their efforts to help their child recover from events that have caused the trauma they are dealing with.
The expected outcome for the schools that participate in the study is improvement in the staff’s ability to effectively interact and engage children with behavioral issues stemming from trauma.
The parent(s), guardian(s), or the primary caregiver(s) will play a critical role in the success of the effort to help children affected by trauma. The adults will be provided support and parent effectiveness training as they learn what they can do to help the child function at school. LATO’s trained trauma focused staff will provide the training and support. Educational specialists and consultants will be utilized to help tailor the protocol to the mission of the school and will collaborate with key personnel at every stage of the study.