How Trauma-Informed Care Can be Used in a School Setting to Better Support Refugee Students with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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Langford, Kelli
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Millions of people have been forcibly displaced from their home country and had to start over in new countries (UNHCR: The UN Refugee Agency, 2023). Many of these refugees are children and adolescents who are arriving in school facing many barriers to their success including language barriers, less time spent in Canadian schools and racism (Brewer, 2016). There is a lack of policy surrounding how to support refugee students in schools (Ratković, et al., 2017). Some studies show that as many as 90% of refugee children and youth suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD UK, 2023). PTSD can cause symptoms of altercations in arousal and reactivity which can include difficulty concentrating, insomnia, hypervigilance, and irritability (Bryant R. , 2022). Exposure to trauma is associated with lower odds of achieving educational milestones (Zhou, et al., 2022). Trauma-informed care can help support the unique needs of individuals dealing with trauma (Reeves, 2015). Trauma-informed care in schools may be the key to improving the emotional and physical safety of students (Walkley & Cox, 2013). Implementing trauma-informed care in schools requires a buy-in from the entire school community (Thomas, Crosby, & Vanderhaar, 2019), therefore training for the entire staff in trauma-informed care is recommended for successfully implementing strategies and procedures that could help avoid re-traumatization and encourage the success of refugee students suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder.
refugees , posttraumatic stress disorder , trauma , trauma-informed care , students
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