Weekly Roundup

– Back to School Edition –

School: Isolation rooms used to discipline children in schools. “…[I]n today’s often overcrowded and underfunded schools, where one in eight students receive help for special learning needs, the use of physical restraints and seclusion rooms has become a common way to maintain order.”

Psychology: The psychological benefits of walking to school. “[Enabling] children to walk to school unsupervised may help boost confidence and give them a tentative first taste of personal responsibility.”

Scholarship: James R. Flynn (of Flynn Effect fame) has written a new book, titled Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century. One reviewer writes, “The answer to the title’s question is: yes, we are indeed getting smarter, in the sense that we are keeping pace with our inventions. We are not improving on our biological destiny; rather we are making a world that is more like an IQ test.”

Helping Children Talk About Traumatic Events

With the anniversary of 9/11 two days away, I thought it might be helpful to put up a few links with resources for helping children cope with difficult subjects such as trauma and loss. All of these come from the NYU Child Study Center in New York.

Talking with Children About Difficult Subjects: Illness, Death, Violence and Disaster: Contrary to adults’ fears, talking about illness, death, violent acts or threatening events will not increase a child’s level of distress. It is very important to engage in an open discussion about children’s feelings, fears and worries. Avoiding discussion of scary and sad events and the strong feelings they engender likely has more potential for harm than talking about them does.”

The Day Our World Changed: The Anniversary of 9/11: With links to guides for both parents and teachers on how to talk to children about traumatic events. They were developed for the fifth anniversary of 9/11, but have tips and advice that can be helpful for anyone working with children “regardless of their exposure to 9/11.”

Building Resilience in Children in the Face of Fear and Tragedy: “Despite the potential for mental health problems, research on the capacity of children to overcome disastrous life events or living circumstances indicates that children can emerge from horrific life experiences with positive outcomes…People caring for children and adolescents can do much to foster such positive outcomes.”