ATN Angel: Dr. Joe Lyons

In celebration of ATN’s 2016 Angels in Adoption award, we’re profiling ATN members who have helped ATN win the award — and who have themselves been Angels to families and children.

by:  Julie Beem

Dr. Joe Lyons is a licensed clinical psychologist, an attachment & trauma professional, and founding member of the Attachment Institute of New England…and a guy with a definite sense of humor.

Dr. Joe LyonsThis photo, from ATN’s 2006 Parenting Traumatized Children conference reminds me of two things. First, that Joe was willing to do silly things to help parents laugh and relax while they were learning more about their traumatized children and how to help them heal. Second – that it was at this conference that I heard Dr. Joe and his colleague Dr. Suzy Allen present about the sensory integration problems many children of trauma have. Their presentation was instrumental in “connecting the dots” for me about my daughter’s trauma background and her sensory processing dysfunction.

I distinctly remember their presentation of the various types of sensory input and potential over(hyper) or under(hypo) response. I also remember the lively, interactive way that we explored ways to be playful as we parented with the sensory challenges in mind. So many good ideas I could take home to use with my daughter – swinging, bouncing, deep pressure games. Throughout the years others have continued my learning about sensory integration challenges and the connection to early childhood trauma, but Joe and Suzy remain in my memory.

And especially Joe – at the end of a long day of executing ATN’s first conference, I was ready for a good laugh. So when we gently teased Joe that he should put his face in the ice bucket – much to our surprise, he did! And we embarrassingly took his picture…that I am using a decade later to embarrass him again!

Can you think of someone who has been an ATN Angel? Join the celebration by sending us your nomination here:


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