Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events
September 2005

Tips for School Psychologists, Counselors and Social Workers

Professionals who work with students are in a critical position to support displaced families as well as their teachers and administrators.

  • While some displaced students may want to spend time with each other even though they aren't at the same grade level, by sitting together at lunch or in assemblies, it's important for educators to ensure that the school is not unnecessarily separating these students from their peers.

  • Educators can help the school find ways to express the value contributed by all of its students, not just those who succeed academically and athletically.

  • Staff members should try to keep red tape to a minimum whenever possible, realizing that school will be the place many families gain access to social services.

  • School leaders should realize that not all students who arrive will have significant adjustment difficulties and a few will have very delayed responses.

  • Children who have experienced a great loss will still often benefit by feeling like they can give to others less fortunate than themselves. School leaders should consider activities that allow them to help others in need.

  • Educators should provide an in-service training program for school staff on the warning signs of serious crisis reactions and make certain that a referral process has been established and is understood by teachers and other staff members.

  • Educators should create ways to help all families, not just the new families, to have social time together. Establishing these opportunities can be a helpful way of disseminating important information and ensuring that community support is provided.

  • Educators should be mindful of the significant needs of all students, not just those affected by the disaster.

  • Educators should work with community mental health service providers to help ensure a variety of services are available to students in need.

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Last Modified: 11/06/2012