Over the last four years I have had the amazing opportunity to be in positions where it was my job to research, implement, and practice a trauma-informed approach in schools and collect resources. In this post you will find some of my favorite resources to use in professional development, or to share with educators in their own pursuit of educating themselves. This is by far not an exhaustive list of what is out there. My intention was to keep the resource list to what I would suggest to an educator if I was sitting across from them and pointing them in the direction of some trauma-informed care resources for themselves or to share with colleagues.
I will be going over these resources in more detail individually in the future. For now, this is what I have for you…
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. ~Benjamin Franklin
Implementation of Trauma-Informed Care in Schools
The Trauma-Informed School: A Step-by-Step Implementation Guide for Administrators and School Personnel by Jim Sporleder and Heather T. Forbes LCSW.
This is such an important resource! In the film Paper Tigers, Jim Sporleder talks about how he was searching and searching for a curriculum on implementing trauma-informed care practices in schools, but he couldn’t find any. For so long trauma-informed implementation tools have been aimed at the mental health settings. Sporleder and Heather T. Forbes (author of Help for Billy) have put together an amazing, must have resource. “The Trauma-Informed School is an all-inclusive guide designed to give school administrators of any school (elementary, middle or high school), step-by-step instructions on how to turn a school of any size into a trauma-informed school.”
Helping Traumatized Children Learn from The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative and the Massachusetts Advocacy for Children
Broken into two volumes, these are available as a free eBook download or for purchase as books. Volume One is a report and policy agenda laying the groundwork for the need to change. Volume Two serves as a guide for creating a trauma-informed school. “ Grounded in theory and practice in schools and with families, the Guide is intended to be a living document that will grow and change as more schools become trauma sensitive and add their ideas.”
A highly recommended free eBook download (244 pages of PDF). I have found this very helpful in designing professional development for teachers. “The Heart of Learning: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success is a handbook for teachers written and compiled by OSPI and Western Washington University staff. It contains valuable information that will be helpful to you on a daily basis as you work with students whose learning has been adversely impacted by trauma in their lives.”
A paper that is often referenced in the world of trauma-informed care. It is not specific to an educational setting, however the content is very applicable. This is where I discovered the core trauma-informed values of safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration, and empowerment that have influenced my practices in implementation of a trauma-informed culture and approach in schools.
Help for Billy: A Beyond Consequences Approach to Helping Children in the Classroom by Heather T. Forbes, LCSW
I was first introduced to this book by a parent who had given it to the administrator of her child’s school. When asked by an educator what one book I would recommend looking through a trauma-informed lens, this would have to be it. Highly recommended for book studies, there is also a study guide written with Jim Sporleder available for purchase. “This easy to read book, with tables, outlines and lists, clears the way for a better understanding of the true nature regarding traumatic experiences affecting the brain and learning. It is a must read for anyone working with a child in the classroom.” Study Guide for Help for Billy is a great resource to get the conversation moving along if you are using it for a book study with staff.
Lost at School by Dr. Ross W. Greene
Also see the follow-up Lost and Found
This book applies Dr. Greene’s Collaborative & Proactive Solutions model to education. The non-punitive, non-adversarial approach and philosophy has guided my career for the last four years. “This book does not bash or blame educators. Nor, for that matter, does it bash or blame challenging kids or their parents. It’s about the need to make dramatic changes in a system that isn’t working for teachers, parents, or challenging kids, and how to go about making those changes.”
The go to book on gaining an understanding on complex trauma in children. Not education specific, but essential in the field of trauma-informed care. “Child psychiatrist Bruce Perry has treated children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, witnesses, children raised in closets and cages, and victims of family violence. Here he tells their stories of trauma and transformation.”
Reaching and Teaching Children Who Hurt: Strategies for Your Classroom by Susan E. Craig
This book is an easy read that challenges the reader to stop and reflect, quizzing them as they progress through the book. Includes strategies a classroom teacher can put into practice right away. “Through clear and readable explanations of current research and enlightening vignettes, educators will understand how violence and other forms of trauma affect the key elements of a child’s school and social success, including behavior, attention, memory, and language.”
Films & Videos
This Ted talk is not education specific, but is very applicable when seeking to understand how Adverse Childhood Experiences impact the brain and behavior. “Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.”
Over the last two years I have hosted over a half dozen screenings of the film Paper Tigers as professional development. This film is so thought provoking and inspirational it is not a surprise that it has become a rallying cry for the movement of trauma-informed schools. It is now available for digital download or rental in the iTunes and Google Play stores, as well as DVD on Amazon.
Resilience looks at the science and ACEs movement from a variety of fields. The bonus content is a fantastic way to get a short view inside these films and the concepts. I have found them very beneficial to use with professional development.
The Effect of Trauma on the Brain and How it Affects Behaviors | John Rigg | TEDxAugusta
This video is queued up to when Dr. Rigg starts talking about how traumatic stress affects behavior long after the experience. A great example of how the primitive animal brain, where we are at the stage of fight or flight, does not know geography.
Online Training Trauma-Informed Care Resources
This resource comes from the Community Schools of Central Texas. This can be used as professional development with a group, or by individuals. I have used pieces in day long professional development. After sharing with a former colleague who teaches at a local university, I’m told that all of their new teacher candidates now view this training. “This is a free training resource designed to give anyone who works with children important trauma-focused information about how student learning and behavior is impacted by trauma and how educators and support staff can help students develop a greater sense of safety at school and begin to build new emotional regulation skills.”
This wealth of information comes from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. It consists of 14 modules that can be completed online. These modules can be accessed individually. It follows a PBIS format, “focusing first on universal practices (Tier 1), followed by strategies for students who need additional support (Tier 2), and intensive interventions for students who require ongoing support (Tier 3).”
On the Web Trauma-Informed Care Resources
A non-punitive, non-confrontational approach to working with children with challenging behavior, the CPS approach and philosophy is what has guided my work for the last four years. In that time I have witnessed it drastically reduce seclusion & physical restraint, critical incidents, and build relationships while working with adults to implement the practice in conjunction with a trauma-sensitive approach in school and residential settings. A lot of free information, I suggest clicking through to the “educators tour” to get started.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has developed tools to help educators respond to the specific needs of traumatized children. This toolkit is available to be downloaded as a comprehensive packet, or as individual sections. I have found it useful to use in designing professional development as well as passing on as a resource when educators want to share with colleagues.
This is an excellent handout written as a letter from a therapist who specializes in attachment and trauma to a teacher. I have received a lot of “ah-ha” moments from educators when I have shared it with them. It is, “ short, simple, and steeped in science- on why behavior management systems don’t usually work for children with a history of trauma, and what the teacher can do instead!”
ACEs Too High is the first place I would go to see what is current with ACEs. I would recommend the ACEs Science 101 as a great rundown of the Adverse Childhood Experiences study and the impact of the findings, that is packed with applicable links. ACEs Connection is, “the most active, influential ACEs community in the world. Connect with people using trauma-informed/resilience-building practices. Stay current with news, research, events.”
The home of Dr. Sandra Bloom’s Sanctuary Model. There is a lot of information here. If you look under the Publications tab you can find education specific articles. I highly suggest the material on mental models as we consider what it takes to make change.
Bloom, S. L. (1995). Creating Sanctuary in the Classroom. Journal for a Just and Caring Education, 1(4):403-433.
Here is where the home of the ACEs study is found on the internet. You will find the study, data, resources, and journal articles.
Thank you for what you do!
If you have more resources that you would like to share with readers, please drop them in the comments.