I received a notice today of a book written about the “children left behind by Hurricane Katrina.” I was thrilled to see such a book written, especially because of its emphasis on the need for schools to be prepared to respond effectively to these students’ unique needs. Like other children who have experienced natural disasters and other terrifying events, many now have an elevated baseline level of anxiety that interferes with learning and adaptive behavior. They no longer operate within what some call “the optimum zone of arousal” so necessary for healthy self-regulation of learning, affect, and behavior. There are many things we can do, however, as educators – and as parents – to help soothe the overly active nervous system of children who have been through stressful or traumatic events. Please read “Why Students Underachieve: What Educators and Parents Can Do about It” or the many articles I have written on the web to find out more.
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