Indiana lawmakers and state officials say addressing the state’s ongoing opioid addiction crisis is a top priority for 2018, and education advocates say those goals fit in with something teachers need to learn more about: trauma-informed care.
Advocates say stressed out students don’t absorb information well, and a parent’s drug problem is just one type of challenge that complicates a child’s ability to learn. That’s why the state’s largest teachers union plans to advocate for more teacher training on what’s called trauma-informed instruction.
Lori Desautels is a neuroscience and education professor at Butler University. She says a tough situation at home can make parts of the brain shut down.
“When our stress response systems are activated, that part of the brain that holds executive function literally goes offline,” Desautels says.
Desautels says the state’s plans to address opioid addiction should include discussions about trauma-informed care in schools, because not enough teachers are prepared to identify and help troubled students. She also says that the large amount of time students spend in schools every year make teachers a key connection for combatting those stressors.