View trusted insights from KidsHealth.org, the No. 1 most-viewed health site for children, created by the experts at Nemours. We've also provided information from the most-respected nonprofit organizations.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Does Ritalin Have Side Effects?
- Marijuana: What Parents Need to Know
- 5 Ways to Bully-Proof Your Kid
- Helping Kids Deal With Bullies
- Your Child's Habits
- Taking Your Child to a Therapist
- Teaching Kids Not to Bully
- Talking to Your Child About Drugs
- Taming Tempers
- Developing Your Child's Self-Esteem
- 504 Education Plans
- Cough and Cold Medicine Abuse
- Helping Teens Who Cut
- Could ADHD Be Hereditary?
- Teaching Your Child Self-Control
- How Can I Help My Child Overcome Shyness?
- My Child Is Stealing
- Disciplining Your Toddler
- Disciplining Your Child
- Connecting With Your Preteen
- Helping Kids Cope With Cliques
- Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
- Drugs: What Parents Need to Know
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder Special Needs Factsheet
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Special Needs Factsheet
- Autism Special Needs Factsheet
- Cutting Special Needs Factsheet
- ADHD Special Needs Factsheet
- What Is ADHD?
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Special Needs Factsheet
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Childhood Stress
- Temper Tantrums
- Social Phobia Special Needs Factsheet
- Separation Anxiety
- Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias
- Anxiety Disorders Special Needs Factsheet
- A to Z: Panic Disorder
- Kids and Alcohol
- About Teen Suicide
Trusted External Resources
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Special Needs Factsheet
What Teachers Should Know
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after someone has a traumatic or terrifying event in which physical or emotional harm was experienced, threatened, or witnessed.
People of any age can have PTSD. It can occur as a sudden, short-term response (called acute stress disorder) or develop gradually and become chronic or persistent.
Causes of PTSD may include:
- violent assaults
- physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- fires or natural disasters
- automobile accidents
- senseless acts of violence, such as school or neighborhood shootings
- arrests, overdoses, evictions
- serious physical injuries or life-threatening medical illnesses
- witnessing another person go through these kinds of traumatic events
PTSD also can occur after the unexpected or violent death of a family member or close friend, or following serious harm or threat of death or injury to a loved one. Survivor guilt (feeling guilty after surviving an event in which someone died) also might be a component of PTSD.
Students with PTSD may:
- seem irritable, anxious, cranky, or angry
- seem detached or depressed
- have problems paying attention or concentrating
- have trouble eating or sleeping
- may startle easily or be overly sensitive to noises, sights, or smells that remind them of the traumatic event
- avoid people, places, things, or activities that remind them of the event
- take medication to treat anxiety
- miss class time to talk with school counselors or mental health specialists
- need additional time to complete class work
What Teachers Can Do
Students with PTSD may not recognize the link between their symptoms and the trauma they experienced. PTSD usually requires help from a mental health professional experienced in treating the disorder. It may be helpful for students to talk with family, friends, teachers, or a school counselor, when and if they feel ready.
Students with PTSD need time to begin to feel better and to learn to manage their anxiety. Avoid overloading them with homework or things that can add to their stress. Be supportive and allow students to practice relaxation techniques when appropriate.
Encourage students with PTSD to talk with a school counselor when symptoms arise.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 05, 2017