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Students of Trauma

A Handbook for Classroom Teaching in an Environment of Suffering

Dan Shepherd

Students of Trauma: A Handbook for Classroom Teaching in an Environment of Suffering provides educators with real world strategies for working with students who have experienced trauma and who express that trauma through depression, aggression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and suspicion. This handbook, based on current educational research and on the experiences of actual teachers, provides practical guidance to individuals working in schools with hurting young people. What sets this handbook apart from other trauma-informed education texts is its emphasis on specific and direct actions and attitudes that teachers can take today to make a powerful difference in the lives of their most troubled students. Students of Trauma will be a helpful addition to the libraries of classroom teachers, their administrators, and those who train them.

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Chapter 5 Hyperactivity


As I previously mentioned, in my first principalship many years ago, I was incredibly surprised during my very first recess supervision. A few minutes into recess, as the children were playing so happily around the playground – running with abandon, rapidly sliding down the slide with impossibly big smiles, laughing with friends, the nurse came out of the double doors carrying a large tray. The tray was covered fully with Dixie cups arranged in neat rows. For each brightly decorated wax-covered cup that had a pill or two one beside it had a small drink of water. When the children saw her – without her calling for them, they sprinted to her en masse. Reaching her, they lined up beside her, and each child in succession would receive his or her medication, toss back the water, and run off happily to resume their play. Of course, I knew what was happening, but still I asked. “Ritalin,” the nurse replied. The days are different now, so the pills are taken before school to be released into the child’s system throughout the day, but the need is still just as great – or greater. In 2016, the Center for Disease Control reported that the National Survey of Children’s Health estimated that 6.1 million school-aged children had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and 5.2% of all school-aged children in the United States were taking medication for this diagnosis. To put that figure into some perspective, there are approximately 60 million school-aged children in...

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