ATN knows that the social distancing going on now can be VERY unsettling for our children impacted by trauma. We have compiled free resources for families, educators and communities to help support you through this new “normal”.
62% of all Americans have at least 1 ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences). ACEs left unaddressed can have a lasting impact on children’s mental health, behaviors, chronic disease and social outcomes.
ATN’s resources are accessed by over 10,000 parents seeking trauma-informed help each year.
1700 educators from across the US and around the world learn trauma-informed strategies at our annual conference.
National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reports up to 5.5 million children referred to CPS for abuse or neglect annually. Our work is far from done!
Early Childhood Trauma
Trauma is defined as an “event outside normal human experience”. These events are generally emotionally painful and distressing, and overwhelm a person’s ability to cope, leaving him/her powerless. Feeling powerless is an important concept when trying to understand trauma – especially as you apply it to trauma in children. Many think of trauma as the result of a specific “event.” But, being impacted by trauma has more to do with how your brain and body react to the situations. Early childhood trauma often falls into the realm of chronic traumatic stress, especially in situations where children are exposed to repeated neglect, abuse and maltreatment.
Understanding How Attachment & Trauma are Connected
Attachment can be defined as a reciprocal relationship. In child development, it generally refers to the relationship that develops first between the infant/child and his primary caregiver (often Mother). The quality of this attachment impacts the child’s physical, emotional, psychological and cognitive development. This early relationship shapes the child’s basic ability to trust and how positively or negatively he views the world, himself and others. Attachment also influences a child’s ability to self-regulate. Children with attachment disorders have been impacted by significant trauma. Children impacted by significant trauma need stable relationships to help them heal.
The most important component in helping a traumatized child to heal is a strong, therapeutic parent (primary caregiver). You can learn more about becoming a Therapeutic Parenting.
The second most important component is trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused therapy. ATN actively encourages ALL families to work with therapists who specialize in attachment & trauma.
The field of childhood trauma is evolving. Children impacted by traumatic stress and those with attachment challenges may carry many diagnoses (or none at all). PTSD, ADHD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Developmental Trauma, Conduct Disorder and more. Focusing on healing the trauma and building resilience through attachment/relationships is critical for all of these children.
Support • Education • Advocacy
The Attachment & Trauma Network, a 2016 Angel in Adoption® Recipient “Trauma-Informed “Trailblazer” has been the VOICE for traumatized children and their families since 1995. Through our mission of Support – Education – Advocacy, we seek to improve the lives of children impacted by early childhood trauma, abuse and neglect, and prenatal exposures in their families, schools and communities. We believe that trauma-informed, attachment-focused therapy and teaching parents therapeutic parenting strategies are significant factors in helping our children overcome their early traumas and build resiliency and healthy relationships. We believe that trauma-informed schools are the best educational environment for all children, but especially the significant population of children impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).