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Child Abuse

How does child abuse affect the child’s behavior in the classroom? According to Cates and Markell (1995, 1) “Child abuse can lead to the development of a full range of problems in children, from poor academic performance and socialization to a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities.” Similarly, Gootman (1996, 1) argues that when children are abused it often follows them into the classroom “manifesting it in the form of misbehavior and underachievement.” Adding to these studies, Lowenthal (1996, 5) reports that several studies in the literature demonstrate that “abused children are rated by their teachers as more overactive, inattentive, and impulsive than their nonabused classmates.” In looking at these three articles, we shall see that classroom behavior is often affected by child abuse. A conclusion will address some of the implications from the research reported in these articles.

The purpose of the Cates and Markell (1995) is to provide educators with a guide for recognizing and reporting child abuse. One of the best ways of recognizing child abuse is to become familiar with the behavioral characteristics of the abused child in the classroom setting. The authors provide the behavioral characteristics for children who are emotionally abused or neglected, physically abused, and sexually abused. For example, the following traits are characteristic of the child who is being physically abused:

Refusing to change clothes for physical education

Finding reasons to stay at school and not go home

Wearing long sleeves in warm weather

Inability to perform fine motor skills because of injury

The Gootman (1996) article argues that the school can act as a valuable refuge for the child experiencing abuse in the home environment. School and teac


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Child Abuse. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:11, April 21, 2019, from