When children draw, sometimes their secrets leak out of them. Sometimes their pain is too much to keep all inside. As we start off this year, I thought to post a little heads up and some links to explore should you want to learn more. Statistics show that about 1 in 4 children face some kind of abuse. Verbal, physical, or even sexual. For some it's mild, and for others, severe.
In that first year of teaching, I saw a child who drew fire around his bottom. The expression was not happy, but drawn like a "rocket boy," so I shared it with guidance, and it lead to an investigation that found the child was in fact being sexually abused. That was 25 years ago.
When teaching a high school, I saw a child was preoccupied with guns, and included such detail I thought odd. I shared it, and later we found he had a gun in his locker. Though a pellet gun, it was VERY realistic. I have reported other things, but privacy laws prevent follow-up and I don't mind that.
This is all to say, if you see something odd, share it with someone in a position that can do something should their be a problem. You may save a life weather you know it or not. In New Jersey it is actually illegal NOT to share that information. All suspicions must be reported. You should find out what the laws are in your own state.
Some issues to be aware of...
+ Repetitive inward spirals (Sometimes indicate suicidal thoughts)
+ Anatomical drawings that are too detailed for the age
+ Drawings that accentuate or are overly detailed of "private" areas.
+ Omissions of eyes, mouth, hands, arms.
+ Omission of these parts on specific people (mom, dad, etc)
+ Houses without windows or doors.
+ Use of just black or red when other colors are readily available.
+ Drawings that regress suddenly
+ Preoccupation on death in artwork
+ A depressed child that draws eyes over and over (Though common for girls, in a depressed child it can be an indication of severe poor self image)
NOT ALL unusual drawings REALLY indicate abuse. Here is an article that details FALSE cases: http://www.ipt-forensics.com/library/images5.htm
BUT sometimes it does. I will provide a list of links where you can read more. The last will be the most "sensitive" so if you don't wish details, don't go there. The others are less "clinically detailed." Feel free to share in your comments about situations you have come across while of course keeping names and places out of it.
http://tinyurl.com/o3qfs82 <-- may be too detailed for some. Sad
HERE however is a good resource. Comment if you are aware of others.