When Kids Are Grieving: Addressing Grief and Loss in School

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This primer helps educators understand and respond appropriately to students’ unique expressions of grief, facilitate effective interventions, and determine when to refer a child to a specialist.
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Editorial Reviews

Steve Hoff
"Burns provides an excellent, user-friendly guide to help school personnel navigate the tricky waters of child grief.This is a welcome resource for school professionals.”
Heta-Maria Miller
“The author’s sensitivity and understanding of cultural variations in reactions to loss provide a much-needed perspective to this important topic.”
Marguerite G. Lodico
"A significant resourcefor educators as they work with children and adolescents who are dealing with grief and loss.”
Katherine H. Voegtle
"Burns' book captures the wisdom, sensitivity, and gentle humor that she has used in a lifetime of work with grieving families. She teaches us to discover our own strengths as we mourn the people we have loved and lost.”
Margaret M. Kirwin
"Donna Burns has written an important book for practicing professionals, especially school professionals involved with grieving children and young adults. What is a matter for profound grieving by a young person may not be recognized among adults as an issue calling for sensitive support. And, symptoms of childhood and young adult grieving are often mistaken for other issues because young people are so often indirect in the ways they channel their grief. Burns provides an excellent resource for preventing traumatic grieving, recognizing youthful grieving as it occurs, and constructively responding to grieving youth at the individual, classroom, and school levels. This book provides an excellent knowledge base on the subject, and is also an invaluable reference volume that every educational professional would do well to own.”
Daniel Doherty
“The best guide to dealing with loss for children that I have read. The book teaches the counselor to use life experience tools in the healing process.”
Stephen Birchak
“For anyone dealing with grief, this book is priceless. It is perfectly suited for professionals as well as families dealing with this difficult issue. By far, it is one of the best books written on the subject because of the manner in which Burns compassionately combines human sensitivity with relevant theory and research. When you read this book, you never forget that first and foremost we are fragile human beings. Burns’ wisdom, insight, kindness, and love shines through on every page.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412974905
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Pages: 108
  • Sales rank: 908,323
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Donna Burns is an educational psychologist who specializes in developmental psychology with an emphasis on child and adolescent development, diversity, and issues in grief and loss. She has designed and taught undergraduate and graduate level courses on death and dying and conducts seminars and workshops for school districts and non-profit organizations. She has presented papers on various aspects of grief and loss at local, regional, and national conferences and has created a conceptual framework for understanding grief reactions. She coordinates and oversees the children’s program for the annual New York State Police Survivor’s Tribute weekend; has provided support to bereaved military family members;and has conducted training on Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) for firefighters. Burns is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), and the American Academy of Bereavement (AAB), where she completed an advanced bereavement facilitator training program.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Kenneth J. Doka viii

Preface x

Acknowledgments xii

About the Author xiv

1 Am I Qualified to Work With Grieving Children? 1

Overview 1

Self-Awareness 2

Reflection Activity 6

Case Study: How Do I Tell the Children? Part I 7

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 7

Chapter Reflection 8

Key Terms 8

2 What Are the Different Types of Losses and Grief Reactions? 9

Overview 9

Dimensions of Loss 10

Anticipatory Grief Versus Unanticipated Grief 15

PRECEDENT: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Grief Responses 17

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 20

Chapter Reflection 20

Key Terms 21

3 What Do I Need to Know About Children's Grief? 22

Overview 22

Developmental Processes 23

What and How Children Grieve 29

Case Study: How Do I Tell the Children? Part II 31

Gender Differences 35

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 36

Chapter Reflection 36

Key Terms 37

4 What Do I Need to Know About Adolescents' Grief? 38

Overview 38

Developmental Processes 38

Cognitive Factors 40

Socioemotional Factors 40

Family and Peers 42

School, Media, and Technology 42

How Teens Grieve 44

Risk-Taking Behaviors and Suicide 45

Suicide Prevention 46

Case Study: Reactions to a Classmate's Suicide 48

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 50

Chapter Reflection 50

Key Terms 51

5 What Can I Do to Help Grieving Students? 52

Overview 52

"But I'm Not a Grief Counselor ... " 52

Things You Need to Know First 53

Things You Can Do 54

Rituals and Activities 56

Cultural Considerations 58

Humor 61

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 65

Chapter Reflection 65

Key Terms 66

6 What Are the Elements of School-Based Crisis Response? 67

Overview 67

School-Based Crisis Response 67

Crisis Response Team 68

Skills and Training 69

Types of Crises 70

School Crisis Response Plan 71

Crisis Postvention 72

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 73

Chapter Reflection 73

Key Terms 74

7 What Grief and Loss Resources Should Our School Have Available? 75

Overview 75

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Resources 76

Fernside and Banana Splits Resource Center Reading Lists 83

Online Resources 89

School Grief and Loss Resource Library 91

Thought Provokers and Issues to Consider 92

Chapter Reflection 92

Postscript 93

Glossary 95

References 99

Index 104

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