One of the greatest challenges teachers and parents face is the increasing number of children who do not respond to traditional instruction and classroom management techniques. Many of the children who present such a challenge are those who were prenatally exposed to alcohol and illicit drugs. To complicate matters, many – if not most – of these children suffered significant emotional and social trauma early in their lives. In the past twenty years, we have learned about these children and the chaotic lives many of them face. The difficulty has been translating this growing body of knowledge into practical information teachers can use in the classroom and parents can use at home. Guided Growth incorporates the latest research-based information into a guide designed for teachers, parents, physicians, psychologists – for anyone who works with children. The authors ask the reader to consider the child affected by prenatal substance exposure or early trauma and to shift perceptions – from seeing the child as one who is willfully disobedient to one whose central nervous system may have been affected by conditions that were beyond his or her control. Ultimately, Guided Growth relies on a key lesson learned from neuroscience: if we are to influence the hearts and behaviors of others, we must do so by using the tools of caring and compassion; in this way we can remain open to the needs of those around us who are suffering from the deepest hurts. Whether those hurts are in our children, the adults in our children’s lives, or in ourselves, they are rooted in our deepest needs to feel that we are understood, that we are felt, and that our lives matter. A child’s hurts can only be healed through interaction with a loving and caring adult. Guided Growth knows that it is within your capacity to be the one.
Ira J. Chasnoff, MD and Ronald J. Powell, PhD
Includes bibliographical references (p. 315-335).