Week Eight – Trauma and Attachment in OVC Care

CAFO Course Forums OVC Essentials – 2018 Winter Week Eight – Trauma and Attachment in OVC Care

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    • #31937
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      Please share and reflect on a few (1-3) new pieces of key learnings from the content week. Then, comment on how what you’ve learned may directly impact your interactions with children from hard places.

      OR

      When you consider the children you’ve been around or worked with from challenging backgrounds, how does this information help to shape your feelings about them, commitments to them, and the ways you’d like to interact? Does anything you learned this week effect how you feel about the “grown-ups” that are struggling in our society?

    • #32159
      meghan rivard
      Participant

      The reading and video that really stood out to me this week was the video from Nadine Burke Harris. Obviously, it makes sense that children with trauma backgrounds might have a different medical need, but I had no idea the percentages she mentioned about the number of “aces” equivalent to long term medical concerns.

      It also alarmed me that so many medical professionals are not taking this into consideration. It seems like so many children are falling between the cracks and not getting evaluated and getting the services they need to combat this high percentages and relationship between early trauma and long term medical diagnoses.

      It would be wonderful if this became more prevalent in the medical field. As she mentioned, it can be added to the normal yearly exam, and help a large number of children.

      • #32195
        Jessica Rush
        Participant

        Megan I totally agree with you! Medical professionals should all be knowledgable on this topic so they can best help their patients. In all honestly, I think that anyone working with children should understand trauma and attachment and know that children from the hard places might need different care. One can only dream that one day that will be a reality!

      • #32196
        Kaitlyn Stutts
        Participant

        Meghan,

        The ACES video is definitely impactful and so valuable to the medical profession. The first time I watched the video, I was astounded at how the ACES scores affected so many parts of health, especially the life expectancy. For it to be such a short list of questions that could radically change the course of someone’s life, it is alarming how few medical professionals are even aware of the ACES test. I agree that more individuals should take this questionnaire as a part of their regular medical care, because it could better equip them and their physicians to handle certain medical issues that may arise as a result. It was such a powerful and profound discussion that could really change the course of how health care is approached.

      • #32210
        Brittany Dealy
        Participant

        Meghan,

        I agree! The aces information was astounding, and completely understandable. When she was saying how excited she was about learning this info and wanting everyone to practice medicine based on these findings… I totally felt for her. It was so relatable and makes sense that our bodies would react to how traumatic our childhood was.

    • #32194
      Kaitlyn Stutts
      Participant

      The information presented in the course for this week is very valuable when working with children from hard places. During my internship, I have read The Connect Child by Dr. Karen Purvis and seen the TED Talk on the ACES score, so much of the content was familiar to me. I believe the material and information from this week are essential to know if you are working with vulnerable children. The content  has made me more aware of my interactions with, and what I say to, children with challenging backgrounds. I believe the information makes me more aware of why they are behaving the way they are and how I can interact with them to heal them, rather than continue to hurt them. The content from this week can help to equip workers to be committed to children from hard places, rather than giving up or feeling defeated when it is difficult. The information from this week definitely sheds some light on the struggles many adults face in our society. Much of this information is still unknown to the general population, and even helping professionals, so children with difficult backgrounds are not receiving the help or healing they need, and will eventually grow into adults struggling in society. The information from this week is essential for anyone to know who works in a profession that interacts with vulnerable children.

      • #32383
        Kaari Vasquez
        Participant

        Kaitlyn,

        I feel the same way – what a gift to have the resources to learn and understand why children are behaving in difficult ways so that our interactions can be healing. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and want to give up at times, but being encouraged to look beyond behavior makes a big difference!

         

    • #32197
      Jessica Rush
      Participant

      I have learned so much recently about trauma and attachment through my current internship and this week’s information further deepened my knowledge. My previous occupation was a teacher and when I think about some of my former students I am sure that some of them had trauma backgrounds. I wish I had known this information back then because I would have worked differently with them. Having this knowledge has already made me be more compassionate and patient with the children I come across because we don’t always know what they have been through. In the same way, there are so many adults walking around who were hurt as children and never dealt with their pain. For me, it’s harder to have patience and compassion when working with adults but moving forward, I am going to try and be more thoughtful when interacting with unpleasant adults and trying to understand that they might have trauma backgrounds that lead them to be the way they are.

      • #32198
        meghan rivard
        Participant

        Yes, Jessica, I absolutely agree! I feel education, with your experience as a teacher, as well as social work or any profession that works with vulnerable children, need to be aware of how trauma and attachment can affect these children. knowing this background should strongly impact how we interact with these children.

        That is also a very good point about having more patience with adults, as you don’t know their history or upbringing.

    • #32211
      Brittany Dealy
      Participant

      So I don’t work directly with children at all… I’m in an administrative support role with our non-profit. “When you consider the children you’ve been around or worked with from challenging backgrounds, how does this information help to shape your feelings about them, commitments to them, and the ways you’d like to interact? Does anything you learned this week effect how you feel about the “grown-ups” that are struggling in our society?”….

      BUT: I do see some ‘grown-ups’ that I know have had a traumatic childhood from how they are today. I could relate to a lot of what she was talking about in the TED talk… as I could see that family members and knowing their history… of course they had huge health issues. It is astounding how many people grow up with not enough soul care, and medical care to be able to heal to be a healthy adult (in all the ways possible). I feel like this has opened my eyes to have more patience and grace… knowing people’s histories are traumatic and they ‘seem’ normal, but definitely have a lot to work through. It can be physically altered in their brain still, which is heart breaking. So glad we have the God we do, and the eternity we are promised, because we will all be fully healed then, if not on earth.

    • #32269
      Lindsey Hughes
      Participant

      During my internship, I have learned so much about the importance of attachment and trauma-informed care when working with children. That being said, most of the material this week was rather familiar and has certainly informed the way that I see and interact with children from hard places. Throughout my life, I have had extensive experience with children from traumatic backgrounds, both in my personal and professional life. The information this week really reinforces the need for patience and persistence when working with these children. It provides a new lens through which to view the children and even adults who have experienced trauma. I think one of the most essential things for me to remember is that all behavior is an expression of an underlying need. Behavior does not define a person, so poor behavior does not make someone a bad person. One of the things that Dr. Purvis said in the IDEAL reaction video was to be sure that the intervention/correction is leveled at the behavior and not the child. So often, in the heat of the moment, it is easy to just direct correction at the child as a whole instead of at a specific behavior, but Dr. Purvis explicitly states the importance of ensuring that the child understands that the child understands that the correction and behavior does not lessen the love that a parent or adult feels for them. Poor behavior does not decrease the value, worth, or preciousness of that child. In fact, if done right, discipline and correction should show and reinforce love for a child. With children from hard places, the connection-building and affirmation should be constant – this way, when corrective action needs to take place, there is already a foundation of trust and love to build upon.

      This material has also given me a fresh perspective in regards to adults who come from hard places. For example, in my internship, I have had the incredible opportunity to do some work with women who have found themselves with an unexpected, unplanned pregnancy. Most of the women we come in contact with have experienced incredible hardship throughout their life, and this hardship continues to inform their actions. Seeing them through eyes of grace is a critical aspect of being able to effectively work and build trusting relationships with them in order to get to a place where we can be able to help them make the best plan for themselves and their child in the long-term – whether that be through making a parenting plan or an adoption plan. Working with children and adults who have experienced hardships and trauma is a constant learning process. I really enjoyed the material from this week, and it will be something that I continue to refer back to throughout my career.

      • #32272
        openarms
        Participant

        Hi Lindsey,

        I LOVE what you wrote about all behavior as an expression of an underlying need! Wow, what a great reminder. I think if we could remember that, our interactions with both children and adults would be a little more kind. I’ve heard some researchers call our behavior “bids” for attention – and how others (especially parents or spouses) respond to those bids can be incredibly powerful in shaping us. Like you said, understanding all of this a little better can lead us to see people through eyes of grace.

        Thanks for sharing!

        Laura

      • #32663
        Courtney Schmidt
        Participant

        That is so interesting that your internship seems very similar to my position. I’m a Pregnancy Counselor with Bethany Christian Services. I took away a very similar application as you in thinking about how helping the expectant moms create a plan for their lives ultimately helps the child as well.

    • #32271
      openarms
      Participant

      I think diving into these topics after learning so much about short-term missions and vulnerable children <span style=”background-color: #f6d5d9;”>made it even more </span>sobering. It’s also an incredibly humbling reminder that no matter how much we know, there’s always still so much to learn!

      Watching the videos and reading the content from this week only deepened my commitment to keep learning, keep digging, and keep asking how we can better serve the children we interact with through our ministry. It can feel discouraging to look back and see the mistakes I’ve made in the past, but also encouraging to look toward the future with a better, growing understanding of how to do this thing well.

      I think for me, that’s the key word – “well.” I so often want to do things perfectly – but not only is that impossible, it’s often unhealthy! I have to give myself grace and remind myself that God will fill in my gaps. My responsibility is to learn all I can and do it as well as possible, leaning on Him for strength and guidance.

      Understanding these ideas helps me treat the struggling “grown-ups” in our society with more grace as well. We’re all struggling to make sense of this broken, sin-stained world, and it impacts each of us in different ways. Practicing kindness and compassion in all our interactions can go along way in building relationships that help us learn in grow both personally and professionally.

      -Laura

      • #32273
        Lindsey Hughes
        Participant

        Hi, Laura! I loved what you said about it not being so much about doing it perfectly but about doing it well. This principle pertains to so many areas of life, even outside of our work in caring for orphans. We serve a good and sovereign God who is faithful to “bridge the gap” between our calling and our ability. Thank you for this reminder this week!

      • #32379
        Lis Doane
        Participant

        Laura, there IS always so much to learn!  I came into this week thinking I was just going to be reviewing things I already had experience with but the reality was this week really deepened my understanding of certain concepts, which is incredibly important as I am often in the position of explaining these concepts to others.  Also, please do not feel discouraged by your so called “mistakes”, you are doing an amazing job moving forward and we can only work with what we know at the time.  I absolutely love your statement that, “My responsibility is to learn all I can and do it as well as possible leaning on Him for strength and guidance.”  So well said and so true!

      • #32824
        Natalie Cormier
        Participant

        I really liked what you had to say because I think that doing things well is what God calls us to. Try to do your best and God will lead the rest. For me, this applies to school, volunteering, work, and friendships. Sometimes I’m not trying my best and that is when I don’t see fruit, but it is always interesting to see how God is challenging me and growing me in those situations.

    • #32380
      Lis Doane
      Participant

      I just want to encourage everyone to really embrace the connected parenting techniques, because the reality is, these are the only parenting techniques that work with kids from hard places and they are life changing.  We started connected parenting when our child was 11. In her sixth grade year, we had many calls from, by the grace of God, a very understanding vice-principal, several suspensions and much, much more.  We made it through the year but, although we were saved from an actual expulsion, there was a tacit agreement that she wouldn’t be returning to middle school next year.  Much to her dismay, we started homeschooling.  She was angry and resentful, and her rages and behavior were out of control.  Connected parenting took everything we had.  There were times we thought she would never be able to live on her own.  There were times we thought we would lose our minds.  There were times we thought she would end up in jail.  She tested us over and over and over, but with God’s help, we managed to hang in there.  Fast forward nine years, our daughter is now 20.  She is in college and has a part-time job.  She is majoring in criminal justice and wants to be a police officer. She has little or no behavioral issues outside in the world.  At home, because she knows it is safe, she does sometimes lose it, but she now knows how to self regulate and get herself under control.  She realizes that this is a problem she will probably be dealing with all her life.  She is actively engaged in therapy to work on it.  She is a fully functioning young adult.  Our home is now, more often than not, a calm and pleasant place to be.  We have had the blessing of watching God move in her, and through her, to make her the beautiful person He created her to be.  We have also had the blessing of seeing how God has used connected parenting to change my husband and I.  I work with other adoptive parents who are right where we were nine years ago.  I have watched connected parenting change so many lives for the better. I lead bible studies that demonstrate that connected parenting is based on scriptural standards and is a beautiful example of Christ-like behavior and love.  Our children from hard places, who have done nothing to deserve what happened to them, deserve nothing less.

      • #32384
        Kaari Vasquez
        Participant

        This is beautiful, Lis! Thank you for sharing your story and for how you are allowing God to use you in serving other families who are struggling. It is incredible, the more I learn about connected parenting and the more I study the Bible…the more I see that it is how God ‘parents’ us!

        Another resource that has been extremely helpful to me in this parenting journey is the book, <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>The Whole Brain Child</span> by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. Understanding how God has designed our brains and the ways that we can use the information in order to better connect with our children has made a big difference for me.

    • #32662
      Courtney Schmidt
      Participant

      3 things I learned this week would include:

      1. Neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. Also that neglect greatly affects the development of a child’s brain.

      2. Along the same lines, I learned that babies really develop properly from the human interaction and having the care giver that consistently provides for their needs and builds trust. I am not a parent myself and I grew up like an only child so I haven’t thought too much about the interaction with babies. I found that interesting.

      3. Lastly, Karyn Pervis’ mentioned in her book that a “mothers emotional circumstances during pregnancy can profoundly affect her newborn. One study found that one-month-old infants whose birth mother was highly stressed during pregnancy had imbalanced neurochemistry.” This stood out because I am a Pregnancy Counselor with Bethany Christian Services so my clients will mostly be expectant moms in stressful situations and my job is to come alongside her to provide counsel and support. Reading this was an encouragement to do my job well because I will be making a literal difference for the baby if I can help keep the mom’s stress down. That was just a cool realization.

       

    • #32898
      Emily Evans
      Participant

      I thought this week on Trauma and Attachment was very helpful in understanding children with trauma more. I loved how Dr. Karen Hutcheson emphasized that parenting is a big issue in mental health issues. I didn’t realize how important it was to make sure the parents are parenting right and have the proper preparation to tend for the child. I liked Karen Purvis video on Children from Hard Places and the Brain. Looking at how the wiring of the brain connects with the emotions of the child is so evident and crucial that we take notice. Lastly, I loved the look on resilience. If we could help raise kids to have better resilience, they might be able to handle their trauma better. One of the biggest ways to accomplish this is relationship and patience with the child.

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