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Understanding Trauma in the Refugee Context

  • Kimberley De Deckker (a1)

Abstract

For a school counsellor or classroom teacher, working with newly arrived students from refugee backgrounds can be daunting, particularly with the awareness that these students have likely experienced significant and potentially horrific trauma. There is now a wealth of evidence showing that traumatic experiences can significantly impact our neurological development, resulting in difficulties in areas such as learning, behaviour, relationship building and emotion regulation, meaning newly arrived refugee students will often arrive at school with some significant challenges. While there is an extensive amount of literature on trauma, there is very little that focuses specifically on the refugee population, and even less on young people from refugee backgrounds. Predominantly, the research looks at chronic or developmental trauma such as child abuse and neglect, or acute trauma such as natural disasters. The following article looks at the refugee context specifically, breaking down the difference between acute, chronic and developmental trauma; and describing the neurological effects of trauma and suggesting some practical classroom-based strategies that can be employed to support and facilitate the recovery of students from refugee backgrounds.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Kimberley De Deckker, Counselling Services, NSW Department of Education, Sydney NSW, Australia. Email: kimberley.dedeckker@det.nsw.edu.au

References

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Understanding Trauma in the Refugee Context

  • Kimberley De Deckker (a1)

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