by: Melissa Sadin At ATN we believe that early childhood trauma and attachment disruption impacts brain development. A study found that children living in an Eastern European orphanage had larger more reactive amygdalae and smaller hippocampal volume than children in the same country that had never been in an orphanage. In addition, the same researchers found that the longer a child lived in an orphanage, the greater the difference in brain development. At ATN we
by: Julie Beem Ok – this is a strange topic for the Executive Director to blog about. Yes, I’m biased. But here’s the deal…I pay my annual Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) membership dues each year because I know what an impact my dues make. In the beginning, my membership was all about me. I needed the support. I needed to learn about therapeutic parenting (even before it was called therapeutic parenting.) I needed to
by: Gari Lister Most schools in Dallas started Monday, and my Facebook feed is full of happy children getting ready for their first day of school. My own daughter started last week — on Wednesday, of all weird days — and somehow I missed posting her picture (so of course I’m embarrassing her by posting it here). But if I’m honest, maybe it wasn’t a mistake. I know summers are really hard for lots of
by: Craig Peterson All children need a special activity in their lives – something to call their own. And especially those who’ve experienced trauma. Many of these opportunities happen through school. For some it’s team sports. For others it might be music or theater. In the case of my son Andrew, he found his niche through running. Like thousands of children each year – in spite of 25 years of awareness, his birth mother drank
by: Craig Peterson Looking back to my elementary school years, I was lucky. Learning came easy. Fast forward 30 years. My children were struggling at school. When a flyer came home about a school workshop, I jumped at the chance to gain additional knowledge. Several weeks later I encountered a roomful of overwhelmed mothers. Within ten minutes I had an entirely new take on parental frustration. “My daughter’s behind her peers in everything,” said one
by: Craig Peterson In elementary school my two attachment-challenged sons whipped through their assignments in class. They rarely had homework. Since both made excellent grades, I never gave the situation a second thought. All that quickly changed by middle school. As the missing work mounted, their grades plummeted. With seven teachers during the day, they had to pay attention – which isn’t easy for many kids overcoming early childhood trauma. They also had constant anxiety
by: Jane Samuel Our youngest, now age 12, like many children of trauma, wants to have all her ducks in a row and know what is coming next. She hates getting caught off guard – “I forgot that we had P.E. today and I didn’t have my shoes!!” So schedules and planning work very well with her and up until last year I had to be on top of things so that she could avoid
by: Craig Peterson “Stop saying you understand. You don’t. You have no idea how I feel.” My daughter’s words stopped me in my tracks. Had I assumed too much? Had I overreached and appeared insensitive? Did I re-traumatize her in the process? Probably shades of all three. You see, my daughter is black. I’m white. She also has an extensive history of sexual abuse. Although I tried to be sensitive to the differences inherent with
by: Melissa Sadin
Teenager with problemsAs the parent of a child with moderate to severe attachment trauma, I have struggled for years to provide my son with an appropriate educational program. I have worked as a special education teacher and an administrator, so I know the lingo needed to get what I want at an IEP meeting. However, I was startled to discover recently that I wasn’t sure I knew what my son needed. My son always makes it very clear to all involved when something doesn’t work for him. The things that do work, however, are much more subtle and harder to see. My son has never said, “Oh, I like Mrs. Soandso. I feel safe in her class and am able to process language better there so I perform better academically.” The closest we get to that is, “She’s okay, I guess.”
By: Craig Peterson
The right teacher can make all the difference – for every student and especially those children healing from past trauma.
Boy with a Birthday CakeWhen my son Alex joined the family at the age of 10, he hadn’t been in a regular classroom since first grade. His behavior had been out of control, with anger filled rages getting the best of him. After grabbing a pair of scissors off a teacher’s desk and attempting to stab the principal in the neck, he spent a month in residential treatment. Upon his return to school, he was limited to two hours of instruction per day. A beefy ex-Marine stood guard.