Right response to trauma found

6th December 1996 at 00:00
The article in The TES of November 22 ("Death in the classroom") contained some excellent advice and suggestions but neglected to comment on several significant issues in relation to the trauma which is usually encountered in sudden, unexpected events and large tragedies, but also often in many single deaths involving children.

During 10 years' research and work in school-based traumatic incidents, I have found that bereavement response models alone are seldom enough, and need to be preceded by methods which address the trauma experienced, for example by debriefing the class or other group affected.

Secondly, the effectiveness of post-incident responses of any kind is greatly enhanced by prior preparation and the development of a receptive environment in which these responses can be provided in a comprehensive and sustained manner.

Thirdly, responding to children after trauma is as much a management issue as a reactive counselling issue. Preparation and early preventive intervention with all children in the affected community is more effective than a "wait and see who is affected" approach.

Readers who may have been on holiday and missed The TES of August 23 may wish to read the article by Reva Klein which described the work of Dr Ofra Ayalon of Haifa University in Israel and The Centre for Crisis Management and Education in this country.

I would welcome any comments from readers to The Centre for Crisis Management and Education, Roselyn House, 93 Old Newtown Rd, Newbury, RG14 7DE, tel 01635-30644.

ELIZABETH CAPEWELL

Director

Centre for Crisis Management and Education

Newbury

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