TRAUMA-INFORMED APPROACH IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT IN THE HIGHER SCHOOL

  • Anastasiia Bednarska, Ms Lviv Polytechnic National University
  • Mariana Hasiak, Ms Lviv Polytechnic National University
  • Iryna Krasilych, Dr. Lviv Polytechnic National University
Keywords: students experiencing trauma, academic environment, inclusive educational environment, special educational needs, trauma-informed approach, PTSD, inclusive education, veteran space, students with disabilities, social inclusion

Abstract

Introduction: According to statistics, the number of students with disability at Lviv Polytechnic National University is 374 people; the number of veteran-students is 6; the number of students-children of veterans is 811. Moreover, there is a Ukraine-Norway Project conducted on the basis of Lviv Polytechnic providing retraining courses for veterans and their family members. In the five years of the project implementation, 428 people have been trained at Lviv Polytechnic. To meet the educational needs of those categories of students the Accessibility Services for students with disability and Veteran Services for combatants, their family members and IDPs have been established at Lviv Polytechnic. The activities of those services are aimed at providing support to students with disability, veteran students, students-family members of veterans, internally displaced persons; ensuring the provision of necessary information and assistance in higher education settings. For the successful functioning of these and similar services, it is important to study the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the trauma-informed approach (TIA). Furthermore, the realities of Ukrainian society give impetus to the experience of traumatic events not only to the above-mentioned categories of students, but also to others who do not belong to them. Therefore, it is advisable to comprehensively study and implement the trauma-informed approach in the educational process to ensure inclusive education environment for each category of students with special educational needs.

Purpose: The purpose of the article is to highlight the importance of the development of trauma-informed approach to meet the needs of students experiencing trauma, students with disabilities and veteran-students particularly.

Methods: Theoretical research methods were used to determine the needs of students experiencing trauma to be met in educational process using the trauma-informed approach at higher schools of Ukraine on the example of Accessibility and Veteran Services at Lviv Polytechnic.

Results: Inclusive education has been considered as a part of social inclusion. Key issues of the development of inclusive education environment are addressed based on applying trauma-informed approach. The purpose to implement a trauma-informed approach in academic environment is identified based on scientific research data and needs assessment. The two basic concepts of trauma-informed approach realization have been developed.

For the first time in the national scientific opinion the possibilities of implementing an inclusive educational environment in the higher education institutions of Ukraine, taking into account the needs and problems of students experiencing trauma were described.

During the educational process, the trauma-informed approach is important to be used when detecting the following symptoms: limited ability to focus, anxious or obsessive thoughts, inability to consistently do research and attend classes, panic attacks with difficulty of breathing, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and deep agitation of short and / or long-term memory, fatigue, decreased concentration and attention, lack of initiative and motivation, irritability and increased sensitivity to stress, inappropriate behavior and poor social skills, slow response rates, difficulty in solving problems, difficulties in planning and sequencing, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, impulsiveness, loss of taste and smell, dizziness and difficulty with balance, epilepsy and convulsions, headaches, decrease or change in vision, chronic pain, paralysis, difficulty in reading and summarizing (processing information).

 Some of these characteristics are very individual, others are the opposite, and are noticeable at once. That is why it is important to disseminate information among the academic community. At the same time, the above-mentioned attributes not only to students who are experiencing/have experienced trauma, but also may concern students with mental health disorders, which in turn make it possible to create an inclusive educational environment tailored to these categories of students as well.

 It is important to understand that a student with special educational needs has the same responsibilities as all other students. It is to attend classes and fulfill the basic requirements of the course. The role of the instructor is to help the student in finding solutions to fulfill these responsibilities, not to lower expectations because of the student's special educational needs, abide by the principles of confidentiality regarding the personal information of the student with special educational needs.

To address the above need, we plan to carry out further research in this field in relation to the practical work of the “No Limits” Accessibility Services and the Veteran Services at Lviv Polytechnic, taking into account the international experience, with a focus on the American and Canadian approaches.

Conclusion: To achieve the research goal and objectives in creating the environment friendly to people in difficult life circumstances the trauma-informed approach to providing educational services is suggested to be implemented. In the practice of trauma-informed approach realization, the two foci are distinguished, i.e., achieving personal development and wellness of the students experiencing trauma via special services provided for them (by Students Accessibility Services and Veteran Services at Lviv Polytechnic) and transforming the environment through educational work with the University academic community

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Published
2019-12-26
How to Cite
Bednarska, A., Hasiak, M., & Krasilych, I. (2019). TRAUMA-INFORMED APPROACH IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF INCLUSIVE EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT IN THE HIGHER SCHOOL. Mental Health: Global Challenges Journal, 14-27. https://doi.org/10.32437/MHGCJ-2019(0).65