Title

Trauma in schools: Identifying and working with students who have experienced trauma

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2017

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Mary Nienow

Abstract

Schools have academic and behavioral expectations that can be extremely challenging if not impossible for children who have experienced trauma. With approximately 25%-50% of children nationwide having experienced trauma, this is a widespread issue and major concern. Challenges in school for these children include learning difficulties, attention difficulties, struggle to regulate emotions, difficulty with peer relationships, and reactivity. This qualitative study investigates the question; how do social workers identify and work with students in a school setting who have experienced trauma? The researcher interviewed six licensed clinical social workers in the Twin Cities metro area who are working in schools. Findings showed that five categories emerged from the data, each encompassing several important sub-themes. The categories included identification, trauma interventions, trauma trends, barriers, and additional work. These categories and sub-themes provided insight into how social workers in a school setting identify children who have experienced trauma, interventions that they find useful, trends that they see regarding trauma, barriers to working with children in schools who have experienced trauma, and additional work that is needed was identified, which is not necessarily work that needs to be done by the social worker. The findings provide valuable information for school staff and social workers for effectively identifying and working with children who have experienced trauma, particularly the practice of trauma-informed care.

Keywords

trauma, schools, trauma-informed care, school social work

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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