What Is PTSD?

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a complex condition that varies in its impact and manifestation in each and every case. PTSD most often refers to prolonged, recurrent emotional and behavioral reactions that follow exposure to an extremely traumatic event, or possibly multiple events, that had the potential to result in death or serious injury to oneself or others (Kauffman & Landrum, 2013). Evidence suggests that youth exposed to trauma have increased rates of peer rejection, decreased social competence, lower grade-point averages, and more absences in school (Kataoka, Langley, Wong, Baweja, & Stein, 2012). In the nation, approximately 4-6% of youth in the general population meet criteria for a PTSD diagnosis following a traumatic event (Jaycox, Stein, & Kataoka, 2002). The literature suggests that students with PTSD are at an increased risk for social, academic, and emotional problems. By gaining a stronger awareness of PTSD and exploring the best instructional strategies and interventions for working with this population, I feel more prepared to successfully serve children with PTSD in the classroom. While exploring PTSD, I found that this condition is a relatively newly-recognized disorder, particularly in regard to children. Since the nineteenth century, researchers have been aware of the lasting effects traumatic experiences can have on a person’s life (Kinchin & Brown, 2001). Different terminology has been used throughout the years to describe PTSD, such as “nervous shock,” “traumatic neuroses,” and “fright neuroses,” but it was not until the Second World War that a detailed description of PTSD was considered by psychiatrists (Kinchin & Brown, 2001). Kinchin and Brown (2001) explain that researchers fought for full... ... middle of paper ... ...rder in my classroom. PTSD is a disorder that is being increasingly recognized in children and adolescents. Kaminer et al. (2005) state that though there is still much that remains to be learned about PTSD in youth, important advancements have been made in regards to risk factors, medical treatments, and interventions. It is helpful to see that best instructional practices that are used to teach children with other, more common, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders also hold true for teaching students with PTSD (Kauffman & Landrum, 2013). Children with PTSD require extra support, multiple intervention methods, and individualized instruction to overcome the obstacles of everyday life that come with being impacted by their disorder; however, I believe it is most important for educators to remember that children with PTSD are always capable of learning, no matter what.

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