HOW TO DESIGN A HEALING SPACE FOR CHILDREN
series: PREVENTING SEXUAL ABUSE by meera seshadri
The space should really be brightly lit. There should be at least two caregivers around at all times. It's important to have little toys or things that can distract children who are maybe facing anxiety.
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It's really hard to talk about these experiences. So having little stress toys or puzzles can be really helpful and letting them sort of play with their hands and get nervous energy out. Also have places to rest and relax and read.
There should be different kinds of activities for different children. Expecting that all children like to be in big groups and play and jump around and laugh may not be the right assumption. There are some children who might be introverts and not like to be in big groups. Big groups may scare them, especially given the experiences that they've had.
Allowing for children to choose different activities is really important to reintroduce the idea of choice for children who have experienced trauma or displacement or abuse. They've been robbed of that sense of choice and power. Reintroducing that in a space is important.
Meera is a health communications specialist, researcher, and activist working at the intersection of gender-based violence prevention and sexual health promotion. She has spent over a decade working to increase access to, and utilization of, comprehensive...
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sexual health resources for adolescents in communities worldwide, developing violence prevention and education programs at Emory, Georgetown, and Harvard Universities and working as a consultant and curriculum development specialist for Soteria Solutions, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Bank.
She is passionate about confronting the ideological and institutional challenges that affect young people's health, wellness, and autonomy. Meera works in coalition with university, non-profit, corporate, and community stakeholders to create policies and environments that prioritize gender equity, intersectionality, and social justice.