Overcoming Poverty’s Damage to Learning
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In the weeks after 9/11, Pamela Cantor, a child psychiatrist specializing in trauma, was enlisted by the New York City Board of Education to lead a team studying the impact of the attacks on the city’s public school children.
What the researchers discovered surprised them. Many children in city schools exhibited symptoms of trauma — but the problems weren’t clearly attributable to 9/11 nor were they clustered near Ground Zero. Such symptoms were, however, concentrated in schools serving the city’s poorest children. And the students’ sense of threat or insecurity stemmed not so much from terrorism as from exposure to violence, inadequate housing, sudden family loss, parents with depression or addictions, and so forth.
“One-fifth of children met criteria for a full-blown psychiatric disorder, and 68 percent of kids had been exposed to a prior trauma sufficient to impair their functioning in school,” said Cantor.
Read the entire report here.