OUR VOICES: TOUCHING TRAUMA AT ITS HEART
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written to empower trauma-informed families, schools and communities
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Business as Usual…Except more Sorrow and Resolve
For nearly 30 years ATN has been in the trenches with children significantly impacted by early childhood trauma…now understood as developmental trauma, attachment trauma, relationship
ATN’s COVID-19 Response
TOUCHING TRAUMA AT ITS HEART EMPOWERING TRAUMA-INFORMED FAMILIES, SCHOOLS, AND COMMUNITIES You are not alone ATN knows that the social distancing going on now can
Focusing on Attachment: What Else I Didn’t Know
What happens once you know? What comes after “you don’t know what you don’t know,” anyway? Well, now, I think it’s “when you know better,
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
“You don’t know what you don’t know” In my parent group for those whose children think differently, a favorite phrase is “you don’t know what
ATN Member Book Study: What Happened to You?
THIS BOOK STUDY HAS ENDED. Calling all ATN Members to join in the discussion of What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing
Two Words: Attachment Insecurity
Trying to do everything right I never imagined that two words, “attachment insecurity,” could have such a distressing and at the same time life-affirming effect
“Guilty”: An Ending or a Beginning?
What I was going to write Tuesday afternoon, I had a whole thing I was going to write about childhood trauma in Miracle Creek by
#TSS 2021–Thank You!
Thank you for the conference… This Mom can’t say thank you enough for the Trauma Sensitive Schools Conference in February 2021. What a great experience
On Being an Anti-Racist White Mom
The Atlanta shootings It’s been a few weeks since the news broke about the shootings at 3 spas in the Atlanta area. Watching this unfold
The Re-Set Process
It began at TSS In February 2021, I had the honor of moderating Dyane Carrere’s session, “A New Way to Respond to Challenging Behavior: The
Just Say No to Teacher Burnout
In times of change, chaos, and crisis, prevent overwhelm and teacher burnout by being realistic about what you can and cannot do. Here’s how.
What ‘Resilient’ Means to Me
Is Larissa resilient? (And does she have ADHD?) Larissa has a writing assignment–2-3 pages–due by the end of today. She understands the topic and knows
Monty’s Day in Court
Helping children from hard places If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you are either parenting a child from a hard place or know
Supporting Students and Staff After COVID-19
A new book for trauma-sensitive educators Returning to school this year has been stressful for school leaders, educators, families, and students, whether they’re engaged in
Congratulations Dr. Laura Dennis
The Attachment & Trauma Network congratulates our very own, Dr. Laura Dennis, the 2020 recipient of the William T. Miles Community Service Award. Dr. Dennis
Teachers Are Heroes
Teachers are Heroes Being a teacher is more challenging than ever before. Teachers have long been the adults who care for, protect and inspire the
Let’s Thank Our Teachers
Teaching then… Long before COVID-19, social distancing, or mask mandates, we had teachers. Every August, after a few precious weeks of summer and many projects
A Different Normal
What do I mean, “different normal”? A few years back, I went to a retreat for moms with kids who had experienced trauma and had
Of Hats and Children and This Coming August
So many hats… The teacher hat Like so many of you, I wear a number of “hats” every day. Since March, I’ve worn the teacher
The day it all shut down The migraine started around 2 a.m., following a late-night 3-hour drive. I took the pill I’d been prescribed and
Child Abuse, Coronavirus, and Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Month Every May, advocacy organizations such as Mental Health America come together to raise awareness around needs related to mental health. These
Rehoming: Who’s to Blame?
The story By now you may have read the headlines such as “YouTuber Myka Stauffer Reveals Adoption Dissolution 2 Years After Welcoming Son Home from
Holding Space for Those Impacted by Racial Trauma
This past week has been an exhausting whirlwind of explosive emotions. If that’s not true for you, you probably haven’t turned on a TV, read
Blog manager’s note: Carol sent me these thoughts on compassion a little while back, in the height of “shelter-in-place.” I find it speaks to me
It’s a Pandemic…So Why is My Child So Calm?
Seriously…I don’t get it In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, some parents have asked ATN, “Why is my child so well-behaved?” They are parenting
Trauma-Sensitive Learning Goes Online
by Dr. Ryan T. Woods for Respectful Ways When learning went online When the threat of COVID-19 arrived, schools responded quickly. Administrators hustled, principals made
Wisdom from a Virtual Schooling Mom
Blog Manager’s Note: I don’t know about you, but I know that I have lost count of how many days we’ve been under orders to
Managing Coronavirus Chaos at Home
How it all got started It wasn’t exactly what we planned for the spring of 2020. Already, life wasn’t very typical, given that we were
Home School in a Stay-Home World
Blog Manager’s Note: Today’s post is about this strange new world in which we all find ourselves learning how to home school. If you’re like
Activities for the Social Distancing Era
Blog manager’s note: Welcome to the third installment of our Coping with Coronavirus series! This comes to us from long-time ATN Angel Jane Samuel, who
COVID-19: Embrace the Gift
Blog manager’s note: Before you get all up in arms wondering what kind of gift the novel coronavirus could possibly be, read on. This is the second
Making a Difference in a Time of Dis-Ease
The rise of dis-ease Over the last weeks, we have awakened daily to the rising of dis-ease. The blurry edge between fact and fabrication has
What to Say to Someone Depressed or Suicidal
According to the CDC, at least 3 in 20 students in a typical high school classroom have seriously considered taking their lives in the past year.
Rupture and Repair: Emotions, Attunement, and Attachment
“Why do some children become sad, withdrawn, insecure, or angry, whereas others become happy, curious, affectionate, and self-confident?” developmental psychologist Edward Tronick, Ph.D. asked in a
Akin, Trauma, and Mindfulness in School
A Mindfulness room gone wrong About a month ago, I read Emma Donoghue’s novel, Akin, the story of an unlikely duo, both touched by childhood
My Son’s Brain in School
A neuropsychologist said of my oldest son: “His brain is not organized the way the world wants it to be, so he has problems functioning.
Child Trafficking: How Teachers Can Help
Child trafficking: from victim to advocate In 2019, I found myself in front of an auditorium full of school staff members from 70 Colorado school
Boys in School
A word about gender Before I talk about boys in school, let me start by acknowledging that gender is complicated. We learn more every day
Childhood Trauma Survivors: Living to Tell the Tale
Survivor stories matter Here at the ATN blog, we publish a lot of posts written by parents. This makes sense. After all, parents founded ATN,
What #OneCaringAdult Can Do
Every caring adult can make a difference in a child’s life At the Attachment and Trauma Network (ATN),we hear many stories about parents, teachers, therapists,
Jeannie’s Brave Childhood – The Author’s Story
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed ATN board member Janyne McConnaughey’s first book, Brave, A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, reviewed here in June 2018,
AAA Students – A Paradigm Shift + Love
Recap In last week’s post, I introduced the idea of the AAA student: Amygdala Always in Action. I referred to Dan Siegel and Bruce Perry,
AAA Students–A Paradigm Shift
Don’t you mean an A student? Nope. My child is not an A student. My child is an AAA student: Amygdala Always in Action. If
ATN: Why and How to Get Connected
How much do you know about ATN? As a new member of the Attachment and Trauma Network Board of Directors, I have discovered some amazing things.
-by Meredith Poynter A Rough Ride I learned early that this journey to heal childhood trauma is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. How do
Vacation, Back-to-School, and Gratitude
Gratitude. I feel it as I sit in front of a softly crackling fire, enjoying the fruity-rich notes of my first cup of coffee as
Trauma-Informed Educators: Julie’s Reading List
As teachers and students head back to school, a flurry of inquiries has come into ATN about the “best” materials to help our schools create
ATN Wants You . . . To Share Your Story
The Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) seeks bloggers for the “Our Voices” section of our website, a.k.a. the ATN blog. Not sure if your story
Complex “Yes/And” Solutions to End Mass Shootings
Just days after one of the bloodiest non-war weekends in US history, thousands have taken to their social media pulpits to preach about mass shootings.
Therapeutic Vacationing, Part II
Hello! It’s Dena again. In my last post, I shared how our Disney trip last summer was quite therapeutic for us as a family, especially
Have extraordinary experiences For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dena and I’m a parent of two children, now adults, through
Being a CASA: Another Way to Help Kids
My kids are grown, and while my spouse and I have agreed to be done parenting, we still want to help kids, so I became
Giving Ourselves a Break
Confession time–I have to take a break (gasp!) I cannot do it all. There. I’ve said it. I’ve admitted the impossible. Now that I’ve done
7 Ways to Help a Child Deal with Traumatic Stress
Humans are wired for connection and thrive in conditions of safety and security. When safety and security are compromised, we must do everything we can to restore a child’s felt sense of safety and security as fast as possible.
Shame: One Mom’s Thoughts
In the world of therapeutic parenting and developmental trauma, we hear a lot about shame. Professionals write lots of great articles about it. This is
When My Son Cries for His Birth Mom
My son’s behavior has been improving. It’s really quite incredible when I think about the progress he has made in such a short amount of time.
Words of Wisdom for Mother’s Day
We have a lot of new members, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share some highlights from the collective wisdom
5 Enlightened Ways to Think About Mental Health
Mental health problems should be thought of no differently than physical health problems. In fact, they are related: mental health problems affect physical health and physical health problems affect mental health.
Who Do You Trust the Most?
During a session with your therapist, she hands you a paper with three concentric circles drawn on it. They represent relative levels of trust in relationships. The central circle is who you trust the most. She asks you who you would put in that spot. You don’t answer. She pushes. You remain silent. Finally, she suggests your parents. You nod. You know that she needs you to nod.
That kid must have been raised right
One day as I scrolled through social media, I saw that several different friends had shared a video of a kid doing something sweet, one
Tis the Season of Everyday Celetastrophe
A new season is upon us. The glow from the dawn of the new year is on the wane. For some of us, it is
Those Adoption Books
For years, I felt frustrated by parents and therapists suggesting I just read fill-in-the-blank adoption books by fill-in-the-blank authors. I’d already read all of those parenting books. I’d highlighted them and made notes in the margins.
But the well-worn copies on my bookshelf didn’t seem to help. Sometimes the most worthy book suggestions even seemed to hurt our family.
Live from #CTSS2019!
I don’t think this the most beautifully written post I’ve ever created. I do think it might be one of the most important. Here’s why.
ATN: The Power of Community
[N]ext week, I will speak for the second time at the Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Conference, where my topic will be “Behavior through the Lens of Attachment, Trauma, and Dissociation.”
Is the CTSS2019 Conference for Parents? No…and Yes!
Countless longtime members of ATN are parenting children severely impacted by early trauma. They may carry the painful memories of searching far and wide for
The Lion Sleeps Tonight
–by Carol Monaco Last night, my 8-year-old son would not go to bed. He wanted to stay up and he wanted us to stay up
Parenting, Anxiety, and ACEs
Parenting with ACEs doesn’t always require intense therapy. Sometimes all we need is a friend, a conversation, someone to remind us that we will be okay, if not immediately, then eventually.
Expectation vs. Reality
Have you seen those funny memes that use photos to demonstrate the difference between how we might expect an activity or career to look and
Surprised by Attachment: Time
–by Nicole Pritchard [originally published on the author’s own blog, Coffee-Colored Sofa on March 2, 2017] This forms part of a series called “Surprised by
Saying NO When You Feel SO Guilty
Note from the blog manager The “big” holidays are over, but the holiday season is not. Families with children affected by early trauma and attachment
Triggered by the Holidays?
From the blog manager Many of us raising children affected by early trauma and attachment disorders know holiday stress all too well. Even the most
Reaching the Teacher
Dear Teacher: I adopted my daughter through foster care. Her birth parents were addicts, and she experienced neglect and abuse in her early years. No
Dinner is served A couple days before Christmas, I make spaghetti sauce. On Christmas afternoon, I move the pot of sauce from our refrigerator to
The Greatest Christmas Gift
A few years ago, my parents flew out from Wisconsin to visit for Christmas. Because they only make it out to California to see us
Christmas Reinvented: The 12 Days of Connection
Relationships or things? Which one are you focusing upon this holiday season? To be honest, my family’s first Christmas 20 years ago was over-stimulating. An
Groundhog Day on Thanksgiving
The problem? Thanksgiving didn’t feel the same Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I have a relatively small family and since I wasn’t raised
A New Phase, Part II: Moving On
Last week on the blog, I told you a little about what life was like with my son with complex early trauma. I talked about
A New Phase in Life–Part I
I have moved into a new phase in life, especially my parenting life. My last child has moved out of the house. Another child visited
Giving Ourselves and Others a Break
Time to take a break. Friendly neighborhood blog manager here. Life is doing that thing right now where it dumps a heap of overwhelm. Yet
ACEs and Toxic Stress: How We Can Heal Children’s Brains
As a trauma and emotion-centered psychotherapist, I am relieved that children are now being screened for toxic stress. Thinking about mental health as a byproduct
Paying Attention: The Most Exhausting Part of Parenting with ACEs!
[Original version published at ACEs Too High, May 26, 2016] Self-care? What’s that? I used to sneak away for a hot bath as often as possible
Dear Educator, Part III
Dear educator, Here we are, the last of my three letters about childhood trauma. I appreciate you taking the time to read what I have
Dear Educator, Part II
Dear educator, In my first letter, I shared some things I didn’t know about kids with trauma. In this installment, I would like to share
Dear Educator: A Series of Heartfelt Letters about what Kids with Trauma Need in School
Dear educator, Thank you so much for teaching my child. I appreciate this opportunity to share with you some insight into the challenges that my
Stopping a Bully: How Learning About Attachment and Emotions Can Help
Richard, a former patient of mine,* used to bully kids when he was in high school. When I asked him to share what bullying felt like, he
Creating Connections, Finding Support
I am sitting on airplane headed back home to my real life. I have been at a retreat/conference with a hundred moms of kids from
What Therapists Want Parents to Do
–by Susan Ward, LPC Note from the blog manager: this is the promised and long-overdue follow-up to Susan’s popular post, What Therapists Want Parents to
BRAVE: What I Chose to Tell
When I talk about BRAVE: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, I sense assumptions from the outset. They are understandable – after all, the
A Trauma-Informed Revolution
by Sandi Lerman [original version published by the author, who is also a parent coach and educator, on Adoption Roots and Wings on March 12,
Two Kinds of Brave
[warning – this post briefly references an act of sexual assault] In her response to BRAVE: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, Laura Dennis,
One Year Ago
For over a year now, my son has been living in a residential treatment facility. One year of not being together for birthdays, Christmas, or
Trauma-Informed Parenting: What Adoptive & Foster Parents Can Teach About ACEs
[original version published on Parenting with ACEs on June 5, 2016] There are many adults with low ACE scores who parent children with high ACE scores.
What I Learned -or Remembered- when I Read Brave
1) There are (at least) 2 kinds of being brave. One is an illusion in which we tell ourselves a version of events that we
On Losing a Mother…and a Mother Culture
I saw them the moment we entered the restaurant. The dad was suited up, ready for Mother’s Day at our favorite Indian buffet. The little
Opting Out of Mother’s Day?
I’m here to give you my blessing…yes, you CAN opt out of Mother’s Day! It is your day after all…so technically by the rules of
Mother’s Day. Beautiful and Complicated.
–by Neeva Carter The moment I heard my children’s names, my world stood still. I was at work, standing in an empty room on the
Mother of the Year (Sort of…)
–by Anna Gosman And the “Mother of the Year” award goes to me…AGAIN. This is what I usually say to myself after I’ve lost my
The Many Faces of Mother’s Day
–by Lorraine Fuller Mother’s Day is so many things to so many people. I was blessed to have one or two Hallmark-worthy experiences. Breakfast in
What Happens to the Siblings of a Special Needs Child
–by Sara Borgstede [read more from Sara, including the original version of this post, at her website The Holy Mess] When my teen son, young