Trauma-Informed Pedagogy: Rethinking the Use of Graduated Instructional Prompts in Inclusive Physical Education


  • Donna Goodwin
  • Lindsay Eales University of Alberta, Canada


Trauma, disability, autism, physical education, pedagogy, instructional prompts


Trauma in the lives of students with intellectual impairments, including children experiencing autism spectrum disorder, is significantly higher than their school-age peers. There remains a significant gap however, in how schools respond to student trauma as teachers receive little formal training or continuing education on its impact and implications for instruction. Trauma-informed pedagogy is a framework for instructional practice that is slowly gaining attention. By linking trauma-informed pedagogy with strength-based instructional approaches, a safe and relational teaching context is promoted—one that decreases teacher actions that may trigger or retraumatize students. With the aim of supporting student resilience, control over one’s body, and autonomy, recommendations on how to practice trauma-informed pedagogy are discussed, using the instructional strategy of graduated instructional prompts as a point of reflexion.

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