Building Connections links together school, family, student teacher and community. Building Connections is a holistic approach, which provides for small group sessions for children, individual counseling, teacher training, and parental training. A school based intervention for African immigrant and refugee children in the metropolitan schools of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
The purpose of the Building Connections is to:
Criteria for Selection of Children:
In determining which children would benefit from individual and groups sessions, teachers are asked to help identify children who might be showing signs of:
Additionally, teachers are asked to identify children who are either having trouble making friends, are bullies or are afraid of bullies, or show a lack of respect.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common among African immigrant and refugee children. It can show up as a physical symptom:
Cognitive distortions can also occur:
Behavior indicators can occur with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
The acculturation process is linked to acculturative stress and accompanying emotional and behavioral problems, such as depression and anxiety, feelings of alienation, heightened psychosomatic symptoms, low self-esteem, and identity confusion issues.
Anxiety and Fear:
Children, who have experienced significant trauma, tend to have anxiety and fear. These changes can appear as:
These children can experience an inability to make friends due to the isolation they may feel during their resettlement process and their transitory way of life. Accordingly, please consider children who have this difficult for candidates for the small group sessions.
These children are typically mistreated by people in their homeland. As a result, they either become a bully or they become very afraid of bullies in school. This program also helps the children deal with school bullies or overcome being a bully. Please identify any child who is either a bully or is afraid of bullies.
Lack of Respect:
These children can develop a lack of respect for authority, due to the way they were treated in their homeland. These children feel betrayed and experience a loss of trust and dignity, because the people that were in charge and responsible for taking care of them did not take care of them. This program helps them overcome this sense of betrayal.
If teachers are having difficulty making determinations, please contact Dr. Oni at (612) 749-3309. Dr. Oni would be happy to assist you with the identification process.