Child Abuse and Tina S Case

Tina’s story and possible effects of a traumatic experience 1. 2) The effects of: 1. 2. 1) Child abuse 1. 2. 2) Sexual abuse 1. 3) Possible effects of Masclow’s hierarchy of needs on Tina’s behavior Page 1 2 3 3 Section 2: Guidance for Tina: 2. 1) Counseling and support for learning problems 2. 2) Child trauma and the effects of trauma on Tina’s life 2. 3) Parental involvement and parental counseling 2. 4) Individual intervention learning program for Tina 4 4 5 6 Section 1: Background 1. ) I would like to report a case of sexual abuse against one of my students. One of my students, Tina, has approached me about a concerning matter, in which her stepbrother, has being sexually abusing her. Not only do I believe that Tina is sexually abused by her stepbrother, I am also concerned that she also suffers from emotional abuse from her mother. As she has pointed out, she is afraid to tell her mother about the abuse, as she fears that she will be blamed for splitting up the family. According to Tina, her mother has accused her of her father walking out on them when she was three.

Due to these factors, I believe Tina’s mom is belittling and rejecting her. For these reasons Tina is afraid to approach her mother about this matter, and is concerned if she does, she will be blamed for splitting up the new family. As her class teacher, I am concerned about the possible effects that the trauma can have on her. I believe that Tina is feeling overwhelmed by the experience, and is feeling unable to cope with the situation. I am concerned about Tina’s emotional wellbeing and the impact it could have on her overall development, presently and in the future.

According to Schoeman S, CA Jansen, JM Dreyer, JI Swanepoel, KH Van As, HM Vogel, HC Steyn and JS Kruger, (The Educator in a pastoral role, 2011:69), trauma can cause intense emotional wounding. This includes wounding a person’s emotions, spirit, will to live, belief about themselves and the world and a dignity of sense of security. It is further noted that a person may feel helpless or out of control, and the mental health of the person is damaged. As Schoeman notes (Schoeman et al. 011: 69) when a child has experienced sexual abuse, they are subject to a process called depersonalization; this strips away the child’s “personhood”, individuality and humanity. It is further stated that when a child traumatized by another person, the victim’s trust in other human beings and society is destroyed, which could have a great effect on the rest of the person’s life. According to Melinda Smith, (http://www. helpguide. org/mental//child/abuse. htm) a traumatic experience can damage the child’s ability to function at home and at school. She goes on to note that an abused child can feel that he/she is worthless or damaged.

In Tina’s case, her mother constantly accuses her of being the cause of her father walking out, and thus she feels that if she approaches her mother, she will be accused of breaking up the new family. Tina could also be feeling a sense of shame and guilt. Melinda Smith also concludes that when someone experiences repetitive trauma, such as abuse, they can feel helpless and develop extreme anxiety. Schoeman (Schoeman et al. 2011: 70) explains that victims of trauma reconsider that they are invulnerable, that the world is orderly and meaningful and that there are good, strong people.

Through these findings, I believe that this could interrupt a person’s ability to function. Due to Tina’s mother’s marriage to the abusers father, I am not only concerned that Tina feels helpless and overwhelmed by the situation, but that she also may feel guilty and worthless. I am concerned about her academic development, as well as her ability to trust others in the future. I am also worried about her future mental health, and that she will feel intense anxiety and may lead to her suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder sometime in the future. . 2) I have observed the effects of: 1. 2. 1) Child Abuse: According to the Child Welfare Information gateway (www. childwelfare. gov), the impact of child abuse can be measured up into categories, namely physical, physiological, behavioral and social. It is obvious to conclude that depending on the type of abuse, there will be physical effects, but according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the physiological effects can be more damaging long-term. The organization explains that the factors of abuse can contribute to a child’s resilience.

This can affect the child’s ability to cope and thrive. The effects of abuse can lower the child’s optimism, self-esteem, intelligence, creativity, humor and independence. The organization explains that an abused child can have problems accepting peers and positive influences such as teachers, mentors and role models. The Child Welfare Information Gateway notes that immediate emotional effects of abuse results in isolation, fear and the inability to trust, and these effects can translate into long term consequences such as depression and relationship difficulties.

It is further mentioned that an abused child can suffer from depression and become very withdrawn. They can also develop anxiety and could even attempt suicide. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (www. aacap. org), stipulate that children who are abused suffer academically. They have poor academic performance and classroom functioning. It is further noted that abused children are very withdrawn and struggle holding or making friends. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry further note that effects can also lead to delinquency, drug use and mental health problems.

At school Tina’s school attendance has lowered, and her school grades have dropped. She is very withdrawn and has difficulties making and keeping friends. She also seems to be suffering with a low self-esteem, and seems to be very anxious. I have not noticed physical effects, but I have noticed the effects on her academic performance. 1. 2. 2) Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse in children shares some of the same effects as child abuse, but we can differentiate some of the effects.

Some predominant behaviors of a child that is being sexually abused are such as mood changes or irritability, increase of fears which results in anxiety, reluctance towards some family members, self-destructive behavior, poor self-image, increased knowledge or inappropriate interest in sexual behavior, fear of being left alone, alcohol or drug abuse, refusal to participate in physical activities in school (Schoeman et al. 2011:76). There are also physical effects of sexual abuse. These can include injury in genital areas, swollen genital areas and semen around genitals.

Others include STD’S, pregnancy, broken hymen, haematomas, difficulty in urinating and genital infections (Schoeman et al. 2011:76). I have found that some of these have affected Tina in her school life. She has a poor self-image and refuses to participate in any sports or physical activities. She also avoids her stepbrother where she can. 1. 3) Referring to Masclow’s hierarchy of needs, I believe Tina is and will be greatly affected if these needs are not met. I believe Tina is getting the appropriate physiological needs, however according to wikipedia (http://en. ikipedia. org/wiki/Masclow’s_hierachy_of_needs), the safety needs are also highly fundamental. Wikipedia explains that in the absence of physical safety, due to family violence, a person may suffer from post -traumatic stress disorder or transgenerational disorder. In Tina’s case, she lacks safety in her home due to sexual abuse and lack of support from her mother. I am concerned that this will relate to depression and post-traumatic stress. Wikipedia goes on to explain the next most fundamental need; love and belonging.

It is explained that this need is especially strong in childhood, and lack of this level of needs can result in an individual’s ability to hold and maintain emotional relationships, such as friendships, intimacy and family. In Tina’s case, she has not received love and belonging as early as three years old. I have noticed that in school Tina struggles to make and keep friends. Tina also struggles with social anxiety, especially during group work situations. Wikipedia further explained the next most fundamental need, esteem. It is noted that all people need to feel accepted and valued.

A lower self-esteem may result in a person feeling inferior and they can feel worthless. Wikipedia explain that if one does not feel their competence, independence and freedom, they may feel feelings of inferiority, weakness and helplessness. In Tina’s case I feel that she feels worthless and helpless, which may affect her further performance, not only at school but too in her occupational future. I believe that because Tina lacks love and belonging and suffers from a lower self- esteem, she will not reach the next most fundamental needs, namely Selfactualization and Self- transcendence.

I am concerned that by not reaching these needs Tina will not reach her full potential in the future. Section 2: Guidance for Tina 2. 1) Due to Tina’s unfortunate events, I believe that she needs counseling. Due to these events, a child that has experienced abuse and/or neglect, may suffer from learning difficulties and due to this it is important that Tina receives learning difficulty support. According to Schoeman (Schoeman et al. 2011:98), counseling is a facilitative process in which the counselor develops a special relationship and uses specific skills to help young people to help themselves more effectively.

Counseling is a process in which advice is given and the counselor determines the nature of a problem and in conjunction to this problem, finds a solution. Schoeman further explains counseling should allow young people with the coping mechanisms and resources to change their situations within themselves. Learners who suffer from trauma often have learning difficulties. Learners who suffer from learning disabilities may need counseling but a support is also needed. Support for learners with disabilities may include counseling, but they need a plan to help them cope with the work. According to BCED (http://www. bced. gov. bc. a/specialed/docs/learning_disabilities_guide) this support would include involving parents to help with the support, consulting with other teachers and colleagues, consolidating with other teachers and school-support systems and creating intervention programs. One can conclude that counseling is a process whereby the counselor attains a special relationship with a person, and helps the person to cope. Support for learning disabilities would entail involving the school, other teachers and other colleagues to create an effective intervention program to help the learner improve and cope with the challenges and demands of school.

One could agree that Tina needs counseling and support with her learning difficulties resulting from her trauma. 2. 2) According to Schoman (Schoeman et al. 2011: 68), a child’s objective experience of a sudden, unexpected incident that may be shocking, frightening or horrifying to the extent that it overwhelms and neutralizes the child’s ability to cope, may be seen as traumatic. It is further explained that trauma can be a single or ongoing incident. Schoeman further notes that trauma implies intense emotional wounding, and it is argued that if a body is traumatized, so to can the psyche.

Schoeman also mentions that trauma can refer to the wounding of a person’s emotions, spirit, will to live, beliefs about themselves and the world, dignity and a sense of security. It is also noted that a trauma is not part of a normal experience, it is frightening and overwhelming. One can conclude that child trauma can affect a child so badly emotionally and physiologically that it can affect them in the present, as well as further on in life. As Tina’s class teacher I have noticed the effect that child and sexual abuse has on her. Tina’s school attendance and performance has dropped.

When she does attend school, she seems unable to concentrate. She is withdrawn and struggles making and keeping friends. She seems reluctant to want to participate in group activities, especially physical ones, including sports. Her knowledge about sexual experiences is inappropriate for her age. She suffers form a low selfesteem, and is anxious answering questions or participating in class, as she seems to be ashamed. I believe that she feels worthless. I have seen her waiting around at school, and I believe that this is because she fears to go home and is avoiding her stepbrother.

She is very tired at school, which makes me believe she is having problems sleeping and may be suffering from nightmares. As a result from the emotional abuse that her mother has enforced upon her, she believes in herself that she is responsible for her father walking out, and if she tells her mother she will be responsible for breaking up the new family. I sensed a feeling of guilt when Tina spoke to me. 2. 3) In situations such Tina’s, where she is sexually abused by her stepbrother, and therefore suffers from learning difficulties, it is important to involve the parents, as well as give the parents counseling.

Children’s parents are often concerned about their child’s well -being, and when something traumatic happens to their child, or their child is not coping with their school work, they themselves don’t know how to cope with the situation. As Schoeman (Schoeman et al. 2011:105) notes, parents often become over-anxious about their child’s ability to cope. Counseling them will be reassuring them of their child’s success and difficulties, and explaining to them what you are going to do about it. It is important for parents to know that their child has support at school.

Schoeman also explains that some parents do not want to acknowledge that their child has a problem, which can put unbearable pressure on the child. In this case I believe it is important to try to convince the parent’s of their child’s short fallings, so that the child gets more support at home. Once the parents are aware of their child’s problems or learning difficulties, it is important to get the parents support, and set out future plans for the child. In Tina’s case I believe it is vital for her mother and stepfather to get the necessary counseling, so that future involvement can be addressed.

As Schoeman (Schoeman et al. 2011:106) explains, parental involvement would include the following: involvement in life-skills education, fundraising, involvement in sport, cultural and other extramural activities and the maintenance of equipment and facilities. In Tina’s case I believe parental involvement would be getting the parents to acknowledge her situation, and then getting them involved in a plan for her future, not only by addressing the abuse, but also getting Tina the necessary support and counseling. 2. ) Due to the above mentioned crimes against Tina, and the effects they will have on her life, I would like to develop an individual and learning intervention program for Tina. Firstly I would like to report the case. As Tina’s teacher I am legally required to report the suspected child abuse. I would like to report the abuse to both the Department of Welfare, as well as the South African Police Service. By reporting these allegations, investigation of the above crimes can be brought to attention, and the sooner it is investigated, the sooner the crimes can be prevented.

Bringing Tina to the authorities is the first step in preventing further abuse. Secondly I would like to involve her mother and stepfather. I believe that Tina’s mother might not want to accept the information, so I would like to involve a professional counselor or social worker from the Department of Welfare, to help with confronting the matter. Once Tina’s mother and stepfather have acknowledged the accusations, I would like to discuss further suggestions for preventing the abuse, getting the relevant emotional and physiological support and discussing a plan for addressing her learning difficulties.

As I am concerned how Tina’s mother will address the matter, I will keep acknowledging Tina’s behavior at school to assure that she is getting the necessary support. As Tina is suffering with learning difficulties, I will confront other colleagues and teachers in giving Tina extra support. I myself will give Tina extra care and support at school. I will provide Tina with counseling to the best of my ability. I would like to set out an extra school curriculum for Tina, whereby she will receive one on one attention from me. These sessions will be specially planned out to deal with specific areas and problems.

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