Teachers may find it extremely difficult to adapt the entire classroom for the sake of abused and neglected children. But teachers can always create a positive environment for all the students. One needs to understand that the abused and the neglected child suffer from various mental health issues due to constant encounter with the abuse and negligence that they faced. The school needs to appoint an independent mental health provider or a therapist for such children. These experts can be invited for Individualized Education Program meetings to give information on building up strategies to teach abused and neglected children.
Sometimes you may come across a student’s who is not provided with the mental health support. In such cases, you can check with the school policies and further contact the parents/ legal guardians to express your concerns about the child. You can even find out the referrals from the administration department as they have connections with the mental health agencies and report about the abused and the neglected child to the concerned authorities.
Following are a few characteristics of the abused and the neglected children:
- Most of the abused and neglected children tend to portray themselves in a much matured way then they are supposed to be. On the contrary, it is seen in certain cases that the abused and neglected children tend to regress into their childhood state. For instance: sucking thumbs or wetting beds.
- Children abused and neglected are scared of failure and this hurts their self esteem.
- The traumatized situation hampers the social skills of the child. They cannot express their emotions towards others. They fail to understand sharing and caring.
Tips for teaching abused and neglected children:
One needs to interact with the abused and the neglected child to understand the thought process of the child and also to console him/ her. One needs to ensure that a safe and comfortable environment is provided to them. Things that you can do as a teacher are as follows:
1. Gather maximum information about the student: You can obtain the information about the history of the child from his parents or the counselors. Knowing some of the information about the child will help you to decide about the plans of teaching the child. Sometimes you may find that the abused and neglected children in your class never like discussing much about their past history with the teachers. As a teacher you are required to honor their privacy.
2. Never define the student based on their past history or behavior: It is good to feel sympathetic towards the abused and neglected student and paying more attention towards them but one needs to treat them at par with the rest of the students in the class.
3. Your duty is to teach the academic subject: As a teacher you have to know the individual needs of your students but your role as a teacher is to teach the academic subject in hand.
Mandated reporting by the teachers:
Teachers are under a mandatory obligation to report about the abused and the neglected student under the law. If you feel that the children is not safe at home, and then bring it to the notice of the concerned authorities. The school needs to have strategies for resolving such issues. You can make an anonymous phone call to the Child Protective Services and report about the child.