How did the A-Z of Trauma Informed Teaching Come to Be?
Written by Sarah Naish, co-author of The A-Z of Trauma-Informed Teaching. See pre-order discount code at the bottom!
Sarah Naish is author of bestselling parenting guide The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting. She is an adoptive parent, CEO of The Centre of Excellence in Child Trauma, founder of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents, and SAfER Fostering, director of Inspire Training Group and author of the hugely popular Therapeutic Parenting Books series.
As a parent of five adopted children, I found one of my biggest struggles was dealing with schools. Often I felt disempowered, out of my depth and frustrated.
Over the years, I have lost count of the number of times that people have asked me to write ‘something for schools.’ I have always declined as I believe that the most powerful way to help parents and professionals caring for neuro diverse children, is to speak from an authentic perspective. That means having that ‘lived in’ experience and being able to truly understand the struggles of the readers one is talking to.
As a student Nursery Nurse, 44 years ago, I did have a placement for 1 day per week over 2 terms in a reception class, but frankly, I don’t think that is helpful to anyone now! As a consequence, I can take no credit for the wise words in The A-Z of Trauma-Informed Teaching – my contribution has been helping with the A-Z format and cheering from the side-lines! The team who wrote the book, all have that essential authentic first-hand experience on the front line of teaching. They are all trailblazers in their own right, working hard to improve knowledge, understanding and acceptance of the ways in which our children learn, and the changes that must happen.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to meet Daniel Thrower and Anne Oakley from The Wensum Trust (www.wensumtrust.org.uk) at a conference. Daniel is the CEO of that Trust, and Anne is the Systemic and Strategic Lead for Attachment and Trauma there. I was very impressed by their passion, knowledge and insight which has inspired and driven change for children who have experienced trauma.
Uniquely, they also fully grasp the importance of bringing parents alongside as valued advisors, rather than alienating or dismissing their views. Over the years our professional relationship has developed with shared learning and a joint goal to improve the lives of our children and their parents. They have shared with me the challenges faced by schools and together we have explored ways to overcome these challenges. Their dogged determination to implement ‘trauma aware teaching’ across not only their schools, but other schools they speak to at conferences, is a true inspiration and gives me hope for our children’s educational future.
I have known Sair Penna for over 20 years. We work closely together at The Centre of Excellence in Child Trauma (www.coect.co.uk) and have shared experiences of parenting neurodiverse children. Sair’s perseverance in advocating for her children in a complex education system, jumping through many hoops, and applying a forensic attention to detail to challenge local authorities, schools and legislation, culminated in her enthusiastic support in assisting Hannah O’Brien to establish ground-breaking and inspirational educational provisions which are now running in Gloucestershire.
As a contributor to this book, Sair has ensured that the parents’ viewpoint and expertise is held in mind throughout. Sair has helped to put together an excellent resource for schools to become trauma informed, through corporate membership of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents (www.naotp.com).
Hannah O’Brien is CEO of Wickselm House Learning Centre (www.wickselmhouse.com). She has worked tirelessly to establish a centre which would make most therapeutic parents cry with happiness! If only every child from trauma or neuro diverse child had access to this type of learning space. Somewhere they can go to learn without fear. The therapeutic environment Hannah has created, helps children to feel safe, to regulate and to be able to learn. If I could have made a wish list for my children’s school, this is what it would have looked like.
My only sadness, is that this book could not be written in time to help my own children, but I am truly thrilled when I think of the thousands of other children who will now benefit from the essential help contained within its pages.
What a joy then, that this book not only gives clear guidance and information to teachers, but also really helps parents to navigate the school system, which can sometimes feel complex, overwhelming and even hostile.
I really hope that this helps you as a teacher, as a parent or as a professional in the field to be inspired and to gain confidence in your journey.
You can pre-order the A-Z of Trauma-Informed Teaching from uk.jkp.com with a 15% discount using the code: PREAZ15 here. (Offer expires: 21/08/2023).