I just came across a blog from a teacher in Australia who has spent most of his career teaching what you and I would call troubled youth. What really struck me about his posts is how many times he mentions Dr. Bruce Perry and the help his work has been to him. Some of his posts about the children are to say the least heart-wrenching. A short excerpt from a post is:
Children with trauma
“One of my first students was a girl who was notorious in the ‘care’ system. Mention her name to anyone working in welfare in the region and it seemed everyone had a story about her. She knew more about “the system” than any other kid or staff member I had met and she loved to talk about it. She found it somewhat endearing or refreshing that I knew so little about the world and spent many of her mornings talking to me about all her different resi units, her time in juvie and how many appointments she had per week with case managers, drug and alcohol counsellors and youth justice workers.”
Trauma and Dr. Perry’s work:
Two paragraphs in his blogs that reference the work of Dr. Perry are:
- “My students have been rejected since the early stages of life. Rejected and abused by the people who were meant to protect them from the bad. I don’t want to get too caught up in the science (quite frankly there’s so much to it and I won’t do it justice), but being neglected, abused and traumatised in the early stages of life actually changes the brain. Before the age of 3, our brain is soaking up so much information, vital information, about being a relational and social being. Being held by our mothers actually regulates our body. Being tended to when we cry provides us comfort and stability. Being fed when we are hungry teaches us we can depend on other human beings. I know it might seem obvious that a parent should care for their child in this way, but it’s not so easy for everyone. If you want to read more about it, I would recommend checking out this website (amongst others): http://childtrauma.org/nmt-model/references/”
- “He attempted to begin Year 7 at a local high school, but that was very short lived and he was expelled shortly after. At age 14, he came to us, confused, damaged, rejected. At times, his social skills mimicked that of a toddler, having tantrums or wanting to play and he really struggled to fit in with the other kids. The trauma he had suffered had impacted his brain development and caused social delays. (Some papers and videos explaining that a little further can be found here: http://childtrauma.org/cta-library/brain-dev-neuroscience/ )”
What amazes me is how Dr. Perry’s work has centered this teacher’s methods. If you would like to read more about how the Center uses the neuro-sequential method in its therapy please click on the link.