Teachers can help abused kids adjust

Nov. 9, 2011 at 10:30 PM
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COLUMBIA, Mo., Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Abused children can return to school and do well academically if teachers can help them control their emotions, focus and stay motivated, U.S. researchers say.

Stephen Whitney, an associate professor at the University of Missouri College of Education, compared the duration of abuse with math and reading scores in 702 children, ages 6-10.

The study, published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect, found the length and type of abuse had the most effect on the children's academic achievement, but that students who were successful in daily management skills had the most achievement.

"The first step, of course, is for teachers to watch for signs and stop the abuse to the child," Whitney said in a statement. "My colleagues and I worked with Child Protective Services to examine test scores to determine what factors indicate future achievement, and of those factors, what ones actually translate to the classroom. Teachers and counselors can help the student succeed by focusing on daily living skills."

Whitney suggested teachers or family members can help abused children by focusing on the following daily skills:

-- Self-regulation, or controlling thoughts and behaviors.

-- Attention to detail, or accomplishing tasks with focus on all aspects of the tasks.

-- Motivation, or finding challenges that inspire learning, including a focus on strengths.

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