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TREATMENT

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 Parent on this website, as well as our sister website – ATN’s Learning Center.  For ongoing support, education and encouragement in your Therapeutic Parenting journey, consider joining ATN.

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. While experts aren’t readily available in all areas throughout the US and the world, we urge you to seek out experienced professionals, even if it means traveling, working remotely, arranging for local therapists to be trained, or finding a professional willing to come to you.

How do I find an experienced attachment & trauma specialist?

Check out ATN’s Resource list.

Trauma-Sensitive, Attachment-Focused Therapies

The many pages in this section of the website details some of the most commonly used treatment modalities by attachment and trauma professionals. This field is rapidly evolving, and ATN strives to keep up-to-date.  Many of these modalities and interventions are currently being researched and all are considered evidence-based or evidence-informed.   Traits of trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused treatments include:

  • Are grounded in attachment theory and recognize the importance of working toward healthy attachment and building resiliency.
  • Address the child’s traumatic stress – including feelings of fear, shame, grief and loss.
  • Are experiential (do not depend on talk therapy). Talk therapies and those dependent on behavior modification (reward/punishment systems) are not usually successful with our children.
  • Enhance emotional regulation and teaches self-regulation skills.
  • Involve the parent/caregiver in the therapy, providing parenting strategies and recognizing the critical importance of therapeutic parenting.

Explore these modalities in more detail:

Neuro-Based Approaches.  Research on early childhood trauma is indicating that interventions that address the underlying neurological impairments caused by early abuse and neglect can be VERY beneficial in conjunction with attachment & trauma therapy.  The following approaches are currently being used to help traumatized children.

WHAT WORKS & WHAT DOESN’T
Questions to ask when considering treatment (coming soon)

ATN’s Official Policy on Treatment: ATN encourages all parents of traumatized children to seek professional therapy for their children that is trauma-sensitive and attachment-focused. Information on this website or support from other ATN members cannot replace professional therapy. We do not endorse specific therapists or treatment modalities. The information provided on this website should not be considered an endorsement.  All parents should thoroughly research their options and ask for references.

resources

More on Treatment

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 of a child’s environment is an important addition to current thinking on how to improve children’s wellbeing. Rushing to diagnose a child with a potentially stigmatizing label, incorrectly blaming “defective”

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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 told me intimidating kids was the only time he felt powerful and strong. His father beat him. He showed the world his tough side, but he secretly believed he was

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ATN Seeks Development Coordinator
Development Coordinator Reports to:  Executive Director and interfaces directly with Board of Directors The Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc. (ATN) is excited to begin our 25th year of helping traumatized children in their families, schools and communities.  We are experiencing rapid growth in both the demand for our programs and in the need for theRead More...
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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.
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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 my perspective as a mom. When I first read about shame in our kids, I was pretty positive that my often narcissistic son could not have that issue. I lookedRead More...
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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. There has been no hitting. No biting. No long-lasting rages. Very little swearing. Still. When my adopted child cries for his birth mom, my heart breaks. He’s constantly agitated, likeRead More...
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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 of the ATN blogging team about what for many of us is a roller coaster day. To read each post in full, click on the author’s name. Complicated feelings Mother’sRead More...
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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.
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CTSS2019: A Packed House!
ATN’s Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Conference 2019 exceeded expectations in so many ways The program grew from just over 500 attendees last year to over 1200 educators this year from every state in the US and several countries around the world.  Over 70 workshops were full (sometimes too full) and conference-goers could take advantage of 11Read More...
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2019 Touching Trauma at Its Heart Awards
Each year, ATN honors some of the best in trauma-informed care and awareness with our Touching Trauma at Its Heart Awards.  The awards are given in three categories:  School Award, Parent Award and Educator Award. This year’s Educator Award went to Dr. Mona Johnson who oversees the behavioral health of all students at all theRead More...
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CTSS2020 Call for Presentations is OPEN
Do you have specialized expertise in trauma-informed care and education?  Has your school taken the journal toward becoming trauma-sensitive?  ATN is looking for workshop presenters from a various of backgrounds: educators (at all levels), counselors, social workers, clinicians, community leaders and others to present at our 2020 conference, February 16-18, 2020 in Atlanta, GA.  YouRead More...
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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.
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Instant Family
The morning after watching Instant Family, I sent this text: “as much as I liked it, it has messed with my head some. I’m a little stabby today.” Reading online reviews did not help with the stabbiness (let’s be honest–do online reviews ever help?). People were completely divided, and as per Internet social norms, wereRead More...
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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 of those heartwarming things that everyone likes to share. At first I smiled and thought it was nice. Then I noticed something–comment after comment stating that this kid had obviouslyRead More...
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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 in the company of the resolutions to which we swore our allegiance before we climbed into bed at 9:30 on December 31 – satisfied that 2019 would arrive whether orRead More...
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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.
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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. I am the most exhausted and energized I have been in a very long time! Exhausted because… I flew into Washington, DC, then spent nearly 2 hours getting from DullesRead More...
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ATN: The Power of Community
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.”
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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 trauma-informed resources, as do many who serve on ATN’s staff and board. Each year, members ask whether or not parents should attend ATN’s Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools (CTSS) Conference. The answerRead More...
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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 too. He had a list of things we could do – a very long list. Even as we climbed under the covers, desperately hoping he would follow our lead, heRead More...
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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.
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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 the reality? I have laughed at many. When we adopt, however, I think the contrast is sometimes not so funny. I also think that we make it worse. Because weRead More...
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Surprised by Attachment: Time
–by Nicole Pritchard   This forms part of a series called “Surprised by Attachment.” This subject became a series because I’ve had way too many failures (or, “learning opportunities”) to fit them into one post. I will not make it a weekly seriesRead More...
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New Year, New Who? 5 Trauma-Informed Resolutions
Winter break always gets me to thinking, and this time it has me pondering the implications of raising a child diagnosed with RAD. I don’t know if all the things I have done to help my child will bear long-term fruit for him, but I am increasingly aware of just how much they have doneRead More...
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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 disorders still find themselves struggling to maintain structure and connection in the midst of all of the celebrations, which for us may mostly feel like chaos. And that can meanRead More...
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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 well-meaning relatives can inflict additional pain, sometimes because they simply do not understand, other times because they cannot help but judge. Our decisions, our families, our lives, may look veryRead More...
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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 one answered  her cries on a regular basis; no one consistent changed her when her diaper was wet or fed her when she got hungry. Because of these experiences, sheRead More...
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Christmas Spaghetti
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 range and warm it while preparing pasta from a blue box. Matt slices grocery store bread. The tradition of “Christmas Spaghetti” may not be the tradition our kids areRead More...
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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 twice a year, and we make it to Wisconsin to visit them even less, it was a pretty big deal. Holidays were hard When we adopted our daughter through fosterRead More...
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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 emotional roller coaster. My six adopted children unwrapped one gift after another – many from people they hardly knew. The following morning, the drama began. Fighting over each other’s toysRead More...
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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 with religion, Thanksgiving was the main holiday where everyone all came together for a festive meal. This gave me a sense of family deep in my heart. I took itRead More...
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The Attachment Effect
When TarcherPerigee offered to send me Peter Lovenheim’s The Attachment Effect: Exploring the Powerful Ways Our Earliest Bond Shapes Our Relationships and Lives so I could review it for the ATN blog, I had two sets of contradictory hopes and fears. One was that I’d see my child in it. The other was that I’d see myself. ThisRead More...
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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 the lying, the stealing, the fear, the things we did to protect ourselves and him. And I told you that once he turned 18, he outright rejected what he’d alwaysRead More...
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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 for the summer, so we didn’t experience a true empty nest immediately. Yet it is still a new phase–the child who moved out last was our child with an alphabetRead More...
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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 I want to preserve what’s left of my sanity. And I want to continue the string of (hopefully!) helpful posts on the ATN blog. Therefore I am taking a coupleRead More...
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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 of a child’s environment is an important addition to current thinking on how to improve children’s wellbeing. Rushing to diagnose a child with a potentially stigmatizing label, incorrectly blaming “defective”Read More...
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Paying Attention: The Most Exhausting Part of Parenting with ACEs!
Self-care? What’s that? I used to sneak away for a hot bath as often as possible when my daughter was in the need-me-every-minute years. I’d soak long past when the water went cold and I felt guilty at times but sometimes I needed to be alone.Read More...
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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 to say. Here are my last pieces of trauma-sensitive teacher advice. Kids with trauma need teachers to understand that emotional age does not always equal chronological age. From day toRead More...
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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 what some of what I have learned. Kids with trauma are just trying to survive Because his brain has been changed by trauma and he feels his very life mightRead More...
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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 child has been having in your classroom and as a student in your school. I was one of you. A few short years ago, I was in your shoes. IRead More...
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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 told me intimidating kids was the only time he felt powerful and strong. His father beat him. He showed the world his tough side, but he secretly believed he wasRead More...
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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 hard places. We had classes and support groups…and chocolate and hot tub time. We did a fair bit of lying in the sun and a whole lot of talking. FromRead More...
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Trauma-Informed Magnets Available
Our very popular magnet is now AVAILABLE in our store! US SALES ONLY!!! For sales outside the United States (including Canada and Mexico), please contact before purchase, since shipping is higher for the magnets. Check our bulk pricing for the best deals. 1,3, 5+ magnets are the best deals. Description:  4″x6″ magnet for reminding usRead More...
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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 Know. Thank you to both Susan and our readers for your patience!   As the parent of a child with trauma and attachment issues, I understand first-hand how overwhelming your lifeRead More...
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A Trauma-Informed Revolution
by Sandi Lerman “It is my hope that our story on trauma-informed care will not only be impactful but will also be revolutionary. It certainly has caused a revolution in my ownRead More...
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Life as a Parent
ATN members, led by Marc Deprey, wrote this open letter (and companion video). This letter is available for any parent of a traumatized child, or child with attachment issues, to download and share. Give this to family, friends, teachers – anyone interested in understanding the challenges you and your child are facing. The letter andRead More...
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2018 Parenting Summit
Our Free Summit has ended. Thank you to the thousands of you who came and participated. After Friday, November 16, the Summit will be available in our store. Watch interviews with parenting experts and experienced therapeutic parents from around the country. Experts include: Dr. Dan Siegel Dr. Ross Greene Karen Buckwalter, LCSW Sarah Naish BillyRead More...
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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 title says it’s about childhood trauma, right? Yet at the same time, I want to laugh and say, “Could you just read the book before you make up your mind?”Read More...
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What Therapists Want Parents to Know
–by Susan M. Ward, LPC In April, ATN blogger Lorraine Fuller wrote a powerful post about what she would like therapists to know. I, like many ATN readers, knew exactly what she meant. Not all therapists are equipped to handle the complex needs of families struggling with attachment disorders and trauma. But there are goodRead More...
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Two Kinds of Brave
In her response to BRAVE: A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, Laura Dennis, ATN blog manager, asked me to address the following: “There are (at least) 2 kinds of being brave. One is an illusion in which we tell ourselves a version ofRead More...
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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 Mother’s Day. One year of visits. One year of wondering what will happen next. One year of prayers. While I’ve written here and there about this experience (Residential Treatment: WhenRead More...
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When The Political Becomes Personal
Last week was just plain emotionally exhausting! As the mom of a child who experienced severe early childhood trauma, a mom who has spent the last two decades immersed in the study of what these early traumas (abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, separation from your parent) do to the developing brains of infants and toddlers,Read More...
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ATN Responds #KeepFamiliesTogether
UPDATED JUNE 21, 2018 On June 20, 2018, President Trump signed an Executive Order halting the practice of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.  There is still more work needed, however, as the President’s E.O. does not address what is to be done with the more than 2,300Read More...
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Trauma-Informed Parenting: What Adoptive & Foster Parents Can Teach About ACEs
There are many adults with low ACE scores who parent children with high ACE scores. These parents are often feisty and fierce advocates who tirelessly seek out support, strategies and solutions to make the lives of their children easier and better. They are some of theRead More...
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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 would like to be true. The other is the real deal. It involves facing our fears head on and living to tell the tale. In a future ATN blog post,Read More...
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Three Things Parents Want Therapists To Do
Last month, I shared three things that parents want therapists to know: Parents don’t know if they can trust therapists. Parents love their kids. Parents are juggling multiple responsibilities. I promised a follow-up, so here it is, three things parents want therapists to do. 1) Please listen to us. We know a lot about ourRead More...
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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 girl, her black hair chopped in the style I instantly recognized as the “Indian orphanage bob,” sat safely strapped into a high chair. The mom wore a salwar kameez, blondRead More...
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Five Nuggets of Emotional Wisdom for Mothers of Children with Trauma
Being a mother is the hardest job in the world when things go smoothly. When you have a child who suffers symptoms of trauma, the hardest job becomes exponentially harder. At my worst moments, when I despaired and felt like I could not go on, I was grateful for the education in emotions that IRead More...
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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 our society (as enforced by Hallmark) you’re allowed to do whatever you want. Well…unless “whatever you want” triggers the heck out of your children with relational trauma. And there’s theRead More...
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Upcoming Trauma-Sensitive Schools Trainings You Should Know About
Now that summer is almost here, educators everywhere may have time to learn more about trauma-informing their schools.  These upcoming trainings at various places around the country are taking place this summer and hosted by organizations/individuals ATN knows to be trauma-informed educators.   June 27-28, 2018 – 20 Things Kids with Trauma Wish Their TeachersRead More...
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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 phone, listening to our social worker run through the highlights of their story. She was reluctant to tell me anything, having only agreed because the children’s social worker had begged,Read More...
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Giving Up Mother’s Day
There is a movement in recent years to do away with celebrating Mother’s Day. It’s a fair argument that Mother’s Day has become too commercialized. It’s also important to consider how Mother’s Day is achingly painful for so many of us: Those who have lost children. Those who have lost mothers. Those who have suffered abuse,Read More...
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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 temper, forgotten to pack someone’s lunch, left someone at school (yes, that can happen…), the list goes on and on. It seems like every day I fail as a mother,Read More...
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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 bed of soggy cereal and burnt toast (pro tip: a dog is very useful in these situations!), handmade gifts and cards. I cherish those memories and warm, fuzzy feelings fromRead More...
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What Parents Want Therapists to Know – Part I
–by Lorraine Fuller           As a mom who is trying to help her children in every possible way, I research so that I can learn all I can about the issues my kids face. I join groups, I read books, I take classes, I attend trainings, I go to conferences, allRead More...
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What Happens to the Siblings of a Special Needs Child
–by Sara Borgstede When my teen son, young adult daughter and I return home from a youth group meeting, my heart sinks when I see a police cruiser sitting in our driveway. We walk into the living roomRead More...
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Respect Thy Parent Voice
–by Donald Craig Peterson Plain and simple. Parents know their children best from years of observation and interaction. They might not used fancy terms. They might not know the latest clinical terms. But they are the experts.  If someone asks.Read More...
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Behavior: Conscious or Unconscious?
–by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD The teacher and I exchanged knowing looks as a kindergartener flung herself across the table, scattering crayons and paper in every direction. We understood that intervening at this moment would only make it worse, although it probably was going to get worse anyway. I was a volunteer. I had no clueRead More...
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Lost at the Beauty Shop – A Story
–by Anna Gosman, guest contributor All Karen had said was, “Walk around the corner and grab your iPad from the beauty shop. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Her daughter had forgotten her iPad, and Karen figured the thirteen-year-old could run back to the shop to get it. It was safe – this wasRead More...
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ATN Joins Others in West Coast Healing Childhood Trauma Tour
  THIS TOUR HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL NOVEMBER 2018.  WATCH FOR UPCOMING DATES & LOCATIONS! May 2018.  Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN), in conjunction with ATTACh, American Adoption Congress and Calo Programs is embarking on a six-city bus tour that begins in Seattle, WA on Friday, May 4th and ends on May 11 in Tempe, AZ. The purpose ofRead More...
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It’s Not Always Depression: An Emotional Education
–by Laura Dennis, with much gratitude to Hilary Jacobs Hendel, to whom I owe both the title and content of this post This is not a book review Last month, I wrote a post previewing Hilary Jacobs Hendel’s new book, It’s Not Always Depression: Working the Change Triangle to Listen to the Body, Discover CoreRead More...
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Oh No…He’s One of “Ours”
–by Julie Beem I knew it. As the news poured in on that Wednesday afternoon about the shooting at the Broward County high school, my heart sank, not only for the unspeakable trauma of all involved and the loss of so many lives, but for whatever had…or hadn’t…happened before to this young man we nowRead More...
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Some Thoughts on Oprah
–by Laura Dennis Yes, I’m talking about that Oprah. Specifically, her 60 Minutes segment and online followup about childhood trauma. I’m not especially given to following celebrities, not even when they support causes I believe in. But last night, I was glued first to my TV, then my computer screen. This time a celebrity was speaking straight intoRead More...
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When Children with Mental Health Issues Are Violent
–by Sara Borgstede Manager’s note: while many children who suffer from mental health issues never become violent, the tragic reality is, some do. A huge hug of gratitude for Sara for her courage in sharing one such story. Like most peopleRead More...
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Some Thoughts on Thoughts: The Power of Words
–by Whitney Norris Thoughts. The ever-present voice in our head that we often only pay much attention to when there’s a problem. Even then, we often hand the bulk of the blame toRead More...
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What’s a Mom Supposed to Say?
–by Lorraine Fuller This is one of the hardest blogs I have ever written, harder even than the one about failure. You see, I have been asked my thoughts about the latest school shooting. Like many people, my thoughts and emotions are scattered, and being the parent of a child with early trauma has changedRead More...
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Good Parents Can Have Kids Who Make Bad Choices
–by Sara Borgstede Good parents can have kids who make bad choices. There, I said it. There are plenty of good parents out there who have kids who make bad choices. I’m sure you know a few, and I do too.Read More...
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Maybe It Isn’t Depression?
–by Laura Dennis I don’t know about you, but parenting a child who has suffered trauma and been diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder can bring out a side of me no one should ever see. I’ve yelled far more than I care to admit (it’s a miracle I still have a voice with which toRead More...
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Dear Educator
Dear educator: My kids have been blessed with many amazing teachers. I have many friends and family in education. They put in many hours and pursue continuing education to become better. Most deal with students from a wide variety of backgrounds with varying abilities, skills, weaknesses, and experiences. It is difficult to learn about everyRead More...
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Scar Tissue and What the Brain Believes
–by Julie Beem In early October I fell and broke my left knee cap (annihilated it into pieces is a more accurate description).  The skillful surgeon put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but I was ordered to remain immobile for six weeks while my old bones decided to knit back together. Right before Thanksgiving, theRead More...
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Coming Soon to the ATN Blog…
So last week I got all clever talking about “Trauma Tuesday,” only to have this Tuesday be, well, traumatic! Have no fear, though. The blog will be back this weekend with a new post from ATN‘s very own Julie Beem, writing about scar tissue and what our brains believe. Two weeks ago, we introduced aRead More...
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The Effects of Trauma in the Classroom
–by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD “It’s just me.” That’s what I used to think about my behavior, including when I myself was a student. Then I began to learn. My growing understanding of the effects of trauma on children and how they learn has come from several sources. In addition to my own experiences as aRead More...
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Why Adoptive Moms Don’t Get Enough Self-Care, and What to do About It
–by Sandi Lerman   Manager’s note: Trauma mama / Parent coach Sandi recently reached out to ATN, and we couldn’t be happier! Please enjoy her first post, and may there be many more to come.    As a parent coach for adoptiveRead More...
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Christmas is Over…What’s Next?
–by Lorraine Fuller So, you survived Christmas! Yay! I am happy for you. I don’t know how much chocolate, or bread, or caffeine, or alcohol it took, but you survived. Soon the kids will be back to school. So let’s take a moment, even if you don’t want to hear it, to talk about nextRead More...
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A Christmas Gift for You
–by Laura Dennis     I was crying. Again. I never know when secondary traumatic stress will rear its ugly head. IRead More...
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Traveling with Trauma: A Survival Guide
–by Emerging Mama Monica Reynolds Another holiday season upon us! A season that for many is filled with joy, excitement, and celebrations, very often presents trauma families with additional stress and confusion. When we just want to chill and enjoy the celebrations like normal (whatever that is) familiesRead More...
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15 Gifts that Promote Attachment and Bonding
–by Sara Borgstede (originally posted on the author’s blog, The Holy Mess, on November 14, 2017) Have you recently given birth to a baby or brought a new family member into your home through foster care or adoption? Maybe you are a relative or friend looking for Christmas gifts for a new little one inRead More...
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Give the Gift of Healing Through Literature
–by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD   Manager’s note: A few years ago, I started buying my kids’ Christmas gifts to the mantra “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.” Here are some ideas for the “read” part. Look for other ideas soon, as well as tips for trauma travel. And ifRead More...
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I Wish I Hadn’t Adopted
–by Donald Craig Peterson I wish, I wish, I wish…I wish I hadn’t adopted. There I said it. Like a majority of families who’ve adopted children, I wasn’t mentally prepared for the surprises. You know, the chaos inside Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The manipulation and triangulation inherent to attachment disorders. The invisible insanity associated with developmentalRead More...
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A Trauma Mama Christmas
–by Lorraine Fuller I used to love Christmas. I would decorate the whole house. I would plan crafts for the kids. I would buy way too many gifts. We had all these traditions. Movies and books and games. Hot chocolate stirred with candy canes. New pajamas on Christmas Eve. Everyone together for Christmas dinner. IRead More...
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10 Tips to Help Kids with Special Needs Celebrate the Holidays
–by Sara Borgstede If you are a parent or a caregiver of a child with special needs, you know that the holidays are not always fun and joyous. Using my experience of many years of parenting children with special needs, plus help from aRead More...
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It’s Not Always Depression, Sometimes It’s the Holidays
–by Hilary Jacobs Hendel There are many myths and “shoulds” about how families and holidays should be: Families should love each other. Families should get along. Holidays should be fun…To name but a few. The fact is: Many people do not have happy families, happy family memories or happy holidays. Therefore, holidays and families mayRead More...
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Chocolate and Chicken Under the Bed
–by Emerging Mama Monica Reynolds Just this past week, I discovered a new secret stash of food and food wrappers in my child’s bedroom. It wasn’t in the same place as the stash before, or theRead More...
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Head. Heart. Repeat.
–by Hilary Jacobs Hendel, originally published on the author’s blog, May 17, 2016 Manager’s note: I’ve lately been in a particularly tough and sometimes dark place as a trauma mama, partly with my kids’ stuff, partly with my own. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get my kids to try this, but itRead More...
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Throwing Myself on the Floor
  –by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD It was inexplicable. I was a twenty-seven-year-old wife and mother of an infant, and I had just left the family gathering and thrown myself on the floor kicking and screaming. My husband was standing over me with a compassionate but perplexed look on his face. I now understand exactly what happened. InRead More...
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How to Get Residential Treatment for Your Child
–by Sara Borgstede No one gives birth or adopts a child with the hope that he or she will need residential treatment someday. Coming to the conclusion that your child needs care in a facility is an incredibly difficult, painful processRead More...
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The Hardest Thing
–by Laura Dennis It’s not the lying. It’s not the cursing. It’s not the stealing. It’s not even the violence and aggression. It’s the shame. That’s what I hate most about Reactive Attachment Disorder. Let’s start with my shame. I didn’t want to be ashamed that my child had problems, but I was. I’m theRead More...
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Confession Time
–by Lorraine Fuller Time to confess some things. When I first started this journey of parenting a child with trauma, attachment, and other issues, I read everything I could get my hands on. I joined groups, attended classes, and went on retreats. I was determined to do everything right to help my son heal. FromRead More...
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Manipulation and the Inability to Ask for Help
–by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD One day, well into my first year of therapy, I caught myself trying to manipulate my therapist. Not that I hadn’t been trying all along, but I hadn’t recognized that what I was doing looked distinctively like manipulation. Suddenly, I found the connection between that and my inability to ask forRead More...
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The Problem With Yelling
–by Hilary Jacobs Hendel, LCSW, originally published on the author’s blog, September 14, 2017   “The problem with verbal abuse is there is no evidence,” Marta shared. She came for help with a long-standing depression. “What do you mean lack of evidence?” I asked her. “When people are physically or sexually abused it’s concrete andRead More...
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That Feeling
–by Lorraine Fuller It’s a feeling special needs parents know all too well. My most recent experience happened on a cruise ship, on a vacation with extended family. One evening, I couldn’t sleep. My son had gone to a teen party and everyone else had gone to bed early or was off doing something else.Read More...
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Facing the mess as me
–by Laura Dennis, originally published on the author’s own blog, Les Pensées du chat noir We all haveRead More...
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Caregiver Stress: It Might Eventually Kill You
–by Donald Craig Peterson originally published on the author’s website, ADOPTING FAITH: A Father’s Unconditional Love, July 31, 2017 The serious look on the eye doctor’s face was obvious. Then she said, “Are you under a lot of stress at work?” Instantly I let out a nervous laugh. “At work – no. But home canRead More...
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Back-to-School Challenges Webinar – September 13
Join Julie Beem at a webinar to discuss the School Challenges of Children Impacted by Trauma on Wednesday, Sept 13 from 1-2 pm EDT.  The webinar is FREE and is hosted by the National Permanency Conference.  Register using this link: http://tinyurl.com/TraumaInfEducation  To learn more about this webinar – here’s the flyer:  NPC Webinar Flyer J.BeemRead More...
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It’s Not Always Depression. Sometimes It’s Shame.
–by Hilary Jacobs Hendel Originally published March 10, 2015 How can it be that a seemingly depressed person, one who shows clinical symptoms, doesn’t respond to antidepressants or psychotherapy? Perhaps because the root of his anguish is something else. Several years ago a patient named Brian* was referred to me. He had suffered for yearsRead More...
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Avoiding Homework Drama Article by ATN Schools Trainer
August 2017. Dr. Natalie Montfort, a clinical psychologist and adoptive mom, has an article featured in the August 2017 issue of Adoption Today on strategies to avoid homework battles with traumatized children.  Natalie wrote “Trauma Momma, Homework Drama” both to inform parents about ways they can reframe their thoughts around homework and give them permissionRead More...
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Are Traumatized Children Hopeless?
–by Julie Beem I’ve been to a handful of post-adoption conferences this spring and summer. After working with ATN for over a decade, I have been excited by the number of workshops and speakers addressing early childhood trauma, and in some cases citing the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study. I remember all too well theRead More...
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Healing Hearts Series
Join ATN’s Julie Beem and Lorraine Schneider throughout 2017 as we interview ATN’s  Professional Members about their programs, expertise, and insights into parenting traumatized children and helping hearts to heal. This is a FREE “Members Only” benefit and can be seen.  Members, contact us for password information. All live webinars can be accessed as follows:Read More...
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Back to School
–by Lorraine Fuller Back-to-school time involves mixed feelings for so many of us trauma moms. We might look forward to the respite it provides. I am a stay-at-home mom and while I love my kids, I enjoy the much-needed break at the end of a long summer. The routine my child thrives on is easierRead More...
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Triggers: Providing Emotional Safety in the Classroom
–by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD Every adult knows that there are triggers in life. We often know each other’s triggers, and in toxic relationships, we talk about how we push each other’s buttons. We know those buttons exist, but we often don’t remember how they got there. It is even harder for children, who are notRead More...
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Residential Treatment: When Holding On Means Letting Go
–by Sara Borgstede This was originally posted on the author’s website, The Holy Mess – Balancing Faith, Family, and Fitness, on June 4, 2017. As we drive through the beautiful rolling hills of western New York, my husband reaches over to grasp my hand. I glance over and see a stream of tears run down hisRead More...
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TSS Training in New Jersey – Including New ATN Trainers
July 2017. ATN’s  Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools program hosted a one-day training for educators and community leaders in Bridgewater, NJ. Melissa Sadin, Julie Beem and Stephanie Garde presented at this sold-out professional development training. Calo was the sponsor of this event. Five educators have been added to ATN’s Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Team, increasing our overall teamRead More...
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The Feeling of Not Enough
–by Hilary Jacobs Hendel  Manager’s note: another great post from therapist and writer Hilary Jacobs Hendel, originally published back in July. Many people carry the same wounds Mike has. Kids impacted by trauma carry them at least a thousand-fold. This post helps understand how they feel and gives ideas of tools can help. Click hereRead More...
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Sensory Integration
Note this recent research study: A Controlled Pilot-Outcome Study of Sensory Integration (SI) in the Treatment of Complex Adaptation to Traumatic Stress Sensory processing disorder (also known as sensory integration dysfunction, SID, or DSI) occurs when a person fails to process sensory messages coming from the environment in a smooth and efficient manner. Children with sensoryRead More...
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Neurological Reorganization (NR)
Neurological Reorganization, NR, or Neuro-reorg, is an intervention that addresses the challenges of a disorganized or injured brain. Some children have pervasive neurodevelopmental challenges that impact all areas of their functioning, and in worst cases children are globally delayed or brain injured. Children whose developmental trauma/attachment disorder beginnings have greatly impacted their development can benefit fromRead More...
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Summer Survival
–by Lorraine Fuller Summer can be difficult for parents of special needs kids. The schedules are different, it’s hot outside, and there is no school. Some parents don’t get a break. I’m one of those parents. I used to love summer, but parenting a child with trauma and attachment issues has made summers difficult. Still,Read More...
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Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is a psychotherapy designed to alleviate distress associated with traumatic memories. This description is taken from the FAQ section of the EMDR Institute website. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show thatRead More...
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Trauma without Healthy Attachment: How a Child Feels
–by Janyne McConnaughey, PhD I sat on the floor next to her. I understood her fear of abandonment, the trauma she had experienced, and how her mother had been unable to provide any form of comfort. I watched her body shake uncontrollably and offered a blanket. I knew she would not want me to holdRead More...
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Neediness: An Unintended Consequence of Shame
–by Janyne A. McConnaughey, Ph.D. originally published June 21, 2017 on Janyne’s blog I stood in the doorway. I was very small, maybe two. I was sucking on my two middle fingers and watching my mother in the kitchen. I was forbidden from entering. Then I did the unthinkable. I stepped over the imaginary line andRead More...
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Stronger in Spirit Than I Ever Imagined
–by Donald Craig Peterson Manager’s note: you can read the original post on Craig’s own blog, Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love. Craig also has a forthcoming memoir, Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love, and you can follow his son Andrew’s story by clicking “Like”  on the Facebook page, Andrew Peterson Goes for the Gold. ____________ The past monthRead More...
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What ‘Mad Men’ and Don Draper Taught Us About Trauma and Shame
–By Hilary Jacobs Hendel Manager’s note: The ATN blog is pleased to announce the addition of therapist and author Hilary Jacobs Hendel to our lineup of regular contributors. Although not as adoption- or attachment-focused as some of our other bloggers, Hilary’s work on core emotions and “The Change Triangle” provides precious insight into both our childrenRead More...
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The Fine Art of Consequences – Part II
–by Julie Beem In my last post, I wrote about a mom in search of an appropriate consequence for her daughter’s misbehavior at school. I suggested that an at-home consequence (taking away Wednesday night church activities) for an in-school behavior might not be the best approach, in part because children with brains affected by traumaRead More...
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The Classroom through the Lens of Trauma
–by Janyne McConnaughey, Ph.D. The doctor my parents took me to was wise beyond his era. He said, “She seems to be a bit anxious about school. Maybe it would help to keep her home for a week.” My first-grade report card proves that his advice was taken. In the midst of almost perfect attendance,Read More...
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Robert Hull Joins ATN’s Advisory Council
June 2017. The Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN), the voice for traumatized children, their families, their schools & their communities since 1995,  is pleased to announce the addition of Robert Hull to their Advisory Council. Robert Hull, MA, ED, Ed.S, MHS  is an award-winning career educator, special education administrator, professor and school psychologist.  His expertiseRead More...
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Listen to Julie Beem as Part of Trauma-Sensitive Schools Discussion
June 2017.  Julie Beem, Executive Director of Attachment & Trauma Network, was part of a discussion of the Trauma-Informed strategies being implemented in the Kansas City, Missouri public school district on KCUR radio 89.3, the Kansas City NPR affiliate on June 15. You can listen to the interview here: http://kcur.drupal.publicbroadcasting.net/post/trauma-sensitive-schooling-and-rogue-nuns-kcs-operation-breakthrough#stream/0
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ATN Members Recognized as Trailblazers in Trauma-Informed Schools
June 2017.  Melissa Sadin & Julie Beem were recognized on behalf of ATN’s Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Program as “being a trauma-informed trailblazer and making a difference in the lives of children!” This recognition was presented at the first ever Trauma-Informed Schools Conference held in St. Louis June 12-13.  ATN was one of handful of organizationsRead More...
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Adoption Today’s June Issue on Attachment & Trauma Now Available…for FREE
June 2017. Don’t miss Adoption Today magazine’s FREE June issue on Attachment & Trauma.  To address the long-term effects of abuse and neglect on children, including trauma and attachment issues, Adoption Today has dedicated its entire June issue to helping foster and adoptive parents meet the needs of children who have been affected by earlyRead More...
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Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools (& Communities) Training
June 2017. Calling all Educators, Parents, and Community Leaders!  Join us in Bridgewater, NJ on Thursday, July 13, 2017 for a full day of exploring how to create Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Communities.  This full-day training will include a basic intro to trauma-informed schools with afternoon breakout sessions to dive deeper into how TSS is implementedRead More...
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The Fine Art of Consequences – Part I
–By Julie Beem A mother called me a while back. “What consequence can I give her?” she started, “She just won’t behave at school and the teacher keeps sending home notes. The only thing I can think of, the only thing she seems to enjoy is going to our church’s Wednesday night events. If IRead More...
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Kidneys vs. Brains
–by Laura Dennis Author’s note: I was working on an entirely brand-new post for this week, but life happened. I present instead an edited version of a a post I wrote for my own blog, Les Pensées du chat noir,  in honor of National Attachment and Trauma Awareness Day, 2015.  You can learn more at the NATARead More...
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Spring is in the Air
–by Lorraine Fuller If you live in a house with trauma, you know that not all seasons are created equal. Most kids do better with a regular routine, but especially special needs kids.  As parents of those special kiddos, we learn how to tiptoe around holidays and traditions. We often clash with relatives, neighbors or teachersRead More...
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Why Jeannie Can’t Tell Time
–by Janyne McConnaughey, Ph.D. Staring at the analog clock in my therapist’s office, I wondered which hand was the big hand and struggled with my need not to go over my time. “I can’t read the clock,” I said. It was awkward because I was 62, but I really wasn’t. This awkward therapy moment isRead More...
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The Unfinished Quilt Top: Unraveling Threads
–by Carl Young Manager’s note: You can read more about Carl’s journey with his son at http://fightingforanswers.com/blog  It’s a heart-breaking journey and an absolute must-read. Unfinished quilt tops. Loose fabric, pieced together.  seams re-sewn to strengthen the final product.  adjustments, another persons eye to style and color.  A work in progress. I have been told, IRead More...
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It’s Just Like Mother’s Day
–by Julie Beem There’s a phrase my daughter spits out in anger and rage. One that does not contain obscenities or obvious threats, but still strikes fear in my heart. The phrase is, “It’s Just Like Mother’s Day!”  She usually says this through gritted teeth in almost a growl-like tone with her face contorted. Even thoseRead More...
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Dear Mom of an Adopted Child
–by Kathy Lynn Harris From the blog manager: this guest post comes partly because, well, it’s just that good, and also comes in honor of next Sunday, a.k.a. Mother’s Day, a day that for many of us is loaded with meaning and memories both good and bad. Infinite thanks to Kathy Lynn Harris, blogger and author ofRead More...
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Finding Light in the Darkness
–by Lorraine Fuller   Raising kids who have experienced early trauma is hard. It’s scary, defeating, isolating, messy, stressful, overwhelming… It’s dark and depressing, sometimes so dark you feel like you can’t breathe or take another step. Your friends, family, and neighbors don’t understand. You feel like a failure. You hear criticism from everyone fromRead More...
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Everyone Deserves to Feel Safe
–by Laura Dennis “You’re safe now,” my friend said, stroking my hair as I sipped a glass of water. Some time later, my daughter said nearly the same. Both times, I curled softly into sleep. Not much of a story, is it? Woman gets scared, woman finds safety, woman sleeps. For me, though, this story is remarkable. I’dRead More...
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Parenting Trauma Requires a Major Expectation Overhaul…
Manager’s Note: Back in February, we published a guest post by “Emerging Mama” Monica. It was so popular that we decided to try another. Please visit Monica and see all the good things she has to say at http://emergingmama.com/, where you will find, among other things, the original version of the post that follows, which wasRead More...
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Praise – A Double-Edged Sword
 –by Julie Beem I read about some interesting research on praise in an educator’s blog that cited a study done by Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford on praising 5th graders. (These were neurotypical 5th graders, BTW.) The experiment went like this. They gave 400 5th graders a simple puzzle in which everyone did well andRead More...
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Bad Kids = Bad Parenting?
Blog manager’s note: Due to the sensitive nature of this post, ATN has decided, as an exception to our usual practice, to allow the contributing blogger to publish this post anonymously and without images. We trust that our readers will understand. Most parents hear about a school shooting and cry because they realize their kidsRead More...
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Educating Traumatized Children Summit – 2017 – Sign Up Today!
Join us May 1-5 for 18 audio interviews with experts in the Trauma-Informed Schools Movement. Register to Listen for FREE here. Speakers include: Dr. Ross Greene, creator of Collaborative & Proactive Solutions; author of Lost in School and The Explosive Child Dr. Robert Hull, Trauma-informed School psychologist & educator Heather Forbes, LCSW, founder of BeyondRead More...
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20 Years after the Fetal Alcohol Diagnosis
–Craig Peterson Manager’s note: you can read the original post, along with many others, on Craig’s own blog at https://adoptingfaithafathersunconditionallove.org/ Craig also has a forthcoming memoir, Adopting Faith: A Father’s Unconditional Love, and you can follow his son Andrew’s story by clicking “Like”  on his special Facebook page, Andrew Peterson Goes for the Gold   Jan was a gem, aRead More...
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Welcome back!
–Laura Dennis, blog manager Welcome back! These are exciting times at ATN! We apologize for the temporary absence of the blog. We have missed you, and hope you feel the same. Thankfully, we are back online and ready and raring to go! This week we are blessed to have Craig Peterson share a great piece on FASD, then later thisRead More...
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Advocating for Your Traumatized Foster Child in School
Julie Beem, MBA, Executive Director of ATN and Melissa Sadin, MAT, M.Ed., Director of ATN’s Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Program wrote a feature article in the March/April issue of Fostering Families Today magazine.  The article gives insight on how trauma impacts learning and on strategies for advocating for your traumatized child at school.  A copyRead More...
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Special Needs Parenting Can Make You Sick…Literally
-by Julie Beem The title probably doesn’t surprise you, but now there is scientific evidence…right down to the cellular level. A study coming out of the University of California-San Francisco compared biological mothers of chronically ill children to those of healthy children. The finding was that those who had chronically ill children had a higherRead More...
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Adventures in therapeutic parenting: spit cup in a tree
-by Laura Dennis I was enjoying my coffee when a panicked voice rose from the back yard. “Help!” My spit cup is in a tree!” I never imagined these words in the same breath: help, spit, cup, tree. Well, not until I became a parent, and not just any parent, but a parent with specialRead More...
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4 Reasons Parenting Trauma is Incredibly Difficult
Note from the blog manager: every once in a while, someone at ATN finds a post that is simply too good not to share. I am so glad that this week’s guest, Monica, agreed to let me re-publish it here. To learn more about this “emerging mama” and her life of faith and as an adoptive mom,Read More...
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Smart and strong
by:  Lorraine Fuller My son told me once that the reason he lies and breaks rules is because he is testing the person. He will do things that seem to make no sense, tell lies that get him into trouble, or steal inconsequential things. If a teacher tells him to write his name on the topRead More...
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ATN Board Kicks off 2017 With Three New Program Groups
As the Attachment & Trauma Network(ATN) begins its 22nd year as the Voice for Traumatized Children and Their Families, the Board of Directors is streamlining the programs offered by the organization. “For two decades, we’ve done incredible work providing support, education and advocacy for families of traumatized children and for others who work with ourRead More...
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Unanswerable questions
by: Laura Dennis “So many unanswered and unanswerable questions.” That’s how my December 29 journal entry ended. One month later, not much has changed. The same old questions are still chasing each other round and round in my head, all thanks to Saroo Brierly’s A Long Way Home. Haven’t heard of it? What if I tellRead More...
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Nutrition
Many parents report their children finding relief and their behaviors improving if nutritional changes are made or vitamins and supplements are added to the child’s daily regime. Some have used protocols usually prescribed for children with autism, ADHD or other neurological disabilities. Child Diagnostics/Dianne Craft is a website that describes the use of nutrition and supplementsRead More...
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Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT)
This approach to therapy of maltreated children is being developed by Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading expert in early childhood trauma. Dr. Perry and the staff at Child Trauma Academy in Texas have created a “developmentally sensitive, neurobiologically informed approach to clinical work.” This approach is based on what Dr. Perry knows about brain development, which includesRead More...
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TF- CBT
Coming Soon
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The 10 Most Common Myths about Attachment & Trauma
There is so much that society doesn’t understand about attachment and trauma. People don’t “get it” when it comes to how a child can be traumatized, how a child reacts to trauma, and how difficult it is to help a child heal from early childhood trauma. The importance of forming healthy attachments and what can impede attachmentRead More...
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Being Investigated? Be Prepared.
Manager’s note: Altogether too many families raising traumatized kids have been investigated on false charges of abuse or neglect. This might be triggered a school retaliating against a family advocating for their challenging child, an ignorant bystander, or even the child himself. Not that it really matters who starts it. The point is, families needsRead More...
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What is FASD?
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications. FASD is not a diagnostic term used by clinicians. Instead it refers to the range of effectsRead More...
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Medication
There is NO medication specifically for RAD, attachment difficulties or trauma. However, ATN does not discourage the use of medications. Many families have found that medications help to treat symptoms and lessen anxiety, intrusive thoughts and behaviors in such a way that the child is better able to benefit from therapies and other interventions. Parents should seekRead More...
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Neuro-Based Approaches
One of the fastest-evolving areas of promising interventions for traumatized/attachment-disordered children in the area of neuroscience approaches. These approaches are based on the premise of brain plasticity; that is, the research that shows the brain is able to continue growing, changing and developing throughout a person’s life. These approaches target the brain’s chemical, electrical and structural byRead More...
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Theraplay
Theraplay® assumes that the primary motivating force in human behavior is a drive toward relatedness to others not objects. Personality development is at its core interpersonal. The early interactions between parent and child are the crucible in which the self and personality develop. During treatment sessions objects are not used to resolve issues of childhood trauma, attachment, orRead More...
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Real Life Heroes
Real Life Heroes provides practitioners with easy-to-use tools including a life storybook, manual, creative arts activities, and psycho education resources to engage children and caregivers in trauma-focused services.  Tools and procedures were developed and tested with latency-age children in a wide range of child and family service programs including children with symptoms of Complex PTSDRead More...
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Trust Based Relational Interventions (TBRI)
Developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at the TCU Institute of Child Development, Trust-Based Relational Interventions® (TBRI®) is an emerging intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavioral problems. It has been applied successfully in a variety of contexts, and with many children for whom numerous other interventions have failed (e.g.,Read More...
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Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
Coming soon
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Child Parent Psychotherapy – CPP
Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an intervention for children from birth through age 5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event (e.g., maltreatment, the sudden or traumatic death of someone close, a serious accident, sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence) and, as a result, are experiencing behavior, attachment, and/or mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorderRead More...
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Attachment, Self-Regulation, Competency (ARC)
ARC is a framework for intervention with youth and families who have experienced multiple and/or prolonged traumatic stress developed by the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute (www.traumacenter.org), the institute founded by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, expert in childhood trauma. ARC, developed by Kristine M. Kinniburgh and Margaret E. Blaustein of the Trauma CenterRead More...
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What Works & What Doesn’t
Let’s start with what DOESN’T WORK…and why: Traditional Psychotherapies — i.e. talk therapies, don’t work with children with an Attachment Disorder or those with early childhood, (especially pre-verbal) trauma.  Two reasons.  First,traumatized children are not helped by talk therapy because of their inability to access (talk about) their actual trauma memories and the specific events and triggers.Read More...
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The Dynamics of Disruption
By Nancy Spoolstra, DVM Although there are several possible explanations for why an individual, a couple, or a family chooses to add an unrelated child to their home, in today’s modern society it usually boils down to one basic principle—the desire to parent a child or another child. Perhaps some are motivated more by altruisticRead More...
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Signs of Attachment
There are countless lists and checklists available from a variety of sources, many of which are linked at the bottom of this page. Generally speaking… Children who are considered “at risk” for Attachment Disorder: Children who have been abandoned Children who have been abused (physical, sexual or emotional) Children who have been neglected. Children whoRead More...
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Failure is always an option
by:  Lorraine Fuller I have been a special needs parent for almost 24 years. My oldest was diagnosed with Aspergers and dysgraphia. That presented a few challenges, but we were able to overcome them. Then my second son played a big part in helping my older son become super high-functioning, even as he dealt withRead More...
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When your child suffers
Craig Peterson poignantly reminds us of the daily struggles that some of our kids have faced, still face, and may always face. Coping When a Child Suffers Daily
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Meet your new blog manager
One year into the first adoption, sibling girls from India, we felt like things were going pretty well. “Why not another?” we asked. “Maybe this one will be a boy.” Turns out it would definitely be a boy –we wanted our kids to have a common cultural heritage, so were returning to India, and theRead More...
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What if it’s NOT the most wonderful time of the year?!
Greetings from your new blog manager. You will be hearing more from me next week. Meanwhile, does the chaos of this image remind you a little too much of the holidays where you live? Craig Peterson shares some wisdom for helping our trauma kids through a time that can be filled with anything but love, joy,Read More...
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ATN Angel Encore: Julie Beem
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. Editor’s note: Many contributors remember that first time an ATN member saved our life. Some ATN members have saved many lives, and so for them,Read More...
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ATN Angel Encore: Stephanie Reh Garde
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. Editor’s note: Many contributors remember that first time an ATN member saved our life. Some ATN members have saved many lives; for them, weRead More...
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ATN Angels: Kenneth Frohock and Peg Kirby
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:  Stephanie Reh Garde Our family is here today because of “Ken and Peg”.  Kenneth Frohock and Peg Kirby, founders of the Attachment InstituteRead More...
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ATN Angel: Dr. Ken Huey
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:  Sandy Davis I am nominating Dr. Ken Huey as an ATN Angel for so many reasons.  I first met Ken years ago throughRead More...
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ATN Angels: Cindy McMurry, MaryBeth Storrow, Jenny Dew, Susan Woodruff
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:  Toni Hoy While I parented two children of trauma, it never crossed my mind that my passion for helping them heal would leadRead More...
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ATN Angel: Gail Trenberth
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:  Nancy Spoolstra One of the FIRST angels related to attachment and trauma issues was Gail Trenberth. Gail founded the Attachment Disorder Parent NetworkRead More...
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ATN Angel: Bob Burroughs
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:  Sheilah Davidson I first met Bob when I picked him up for an ATN Board retreat in California. We had a long driveRead More...
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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 ofRead More...
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ATN Angel: Toni Hoy
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:  Maureen O’Neill Davis ATN’s advocacy director, Toni Hoy, made a lasting and inspiring impression on me. I found ATN when my efforts toRead More...
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ATN Angel: Tanya Bowers-Dean
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 This photo of Pepsi caps won’t mean much to you unless you were actively involved in ATN in 2010 – likeRead More...
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ATN Angel: Billy Kaplan
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:  Sarah Neal and Vincent Kennebeck When our children came to live with us, we recognized something wasn’t right almost immediately – they wereRead More...
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ATN Angel: Anna Paravano
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:  Sheilah Davidson Even before I met Anna, she had an impact on me. One of my very early experiences with ATN was attendingRead More...
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ATN Angel: Julie Beem
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:  Stephanie Reh Garde If there was an ultimate ATN Angel, it would be Julie Beem.  I still have the email exchange we hadRead More...
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ATN Angel: Michele Nigliazzo
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 Four years ago – August of 2012 – I attended the Nigliazzo Advocacy Center’s POWER Advocacy Training – and have beenRead More...
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ATN Angel: Taylor Davis
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:  Sandy Davis Thinking about who has had the most impact on my life when it comes to understanding trauma & attachment…without a doubtRead More...
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ATN Angel – Lynne Lyon
By:  Julie Beem 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.   An ATN member who was one of my early heroes is Lynne Lyon. Back when I met her, in 1999,Read More...
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ATN Angel: Jane Samuel
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:  Laura Dennis Well, at the beginning, Jane made a difference to me just by being in the same state! As most ATN membersRead More...
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ATN Angel: Dr. Lark Eshleman
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:  Jane Samuel My youngest child was getting to me. The daily tantrums. The inability to sit still for just one minute. The continualRead More...
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ATN Angel: Nancy Spoolstra
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:  Lorraine Schneider The first time I met Nancy Spoolstra, she threw her arms around me giving me a huge hug. She told meRead More...
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ATN Angel: Donald Craig Peterson
By:  Julie Beem Tireless.  That’s the word that comes to mind when describing Craig Peterson.  Those on Facebook know him as Donald Craig Peterson.  Craig is an author, an activist, an advocate, an advisor…but most importantly he’s a dad.  Parenting six he adopted as a single parent has been far from easy.  His children haveRead More...
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ATN Angel: Stephanie Reh Garde
By:  Sheilah Davidson 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. Stephanie Garde: An angel among us. When researching solutions for my daughter’s attachment issues, I joined ATN and virtually “met” StephanieRead More...
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ATN Angel – Marc Deprey
By:  Julie Beem 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. Late one night I flew into the San Francisco airport and there he stood.  Neither one of us was sure we’dRead More...
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ATN Angel – Larry Smith, LCSW
By Sheri Verdonk 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. Our first profile is of Larry Smith, who we lost only a few short weeks ago.  Sherry Verdonk, a former ATN board memberRead More...
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ATN is 2016 Angels in Adoption Recipient
The Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) will be honored for our 21 years of supporting and advocating for adoptive families of traumatized children and those with attachment disorders in September.  ATN will receive an Angels in Adoption® award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) on September 20 in Washington, DC. Rep. Chris vanRead More...
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The passing of Lawrence B. Smith
In Memory of Larry… August 2016.  With great sadness, we report the passing of Lawrence B. (Larry) Smith, LCSW of Silver Spring, MD on August 11, 2016. Larry was a well-respected therapist who specialized in attachment disorders, developmental trauma and FASD. He was an active volunteer with the Attachment & Trauma Network, serving as aRead More...
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Toni Hoy honored as NAMI Outstanding Member
July 2016. Toni Hoy – trauma mama, incredible advocate and Advocacy Director of ATN –  was recognized with the Outstanding NAMI Member Award at the National NAMI Conference in Denver this month.  The Outstanding NAMI Member Award is the highest honor given by NAMI to a member in recognition of long and effective work towardRead More...
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House Passes Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
July 2016.  On July 6, the House of Representatives passed this act which,  among other things, will: create the position of Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders to take over the responsibilities of the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). amend the Public Health Service Act toRead More...
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First Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training a Success
June 2016.  ATN’s Trauma-Sensitive Schools (TSS) Initiative hosted our first Professional Development Training June 27 & 28 in Somerville, NJ.  The Superintendent of Somerville Schools, Dr. Tim Purnell was the keynote and spoke on the importance of viewing things through a different lens.  Then ATN’s TSS trainers Melissa Sadin and Jen Alexander provided a fullRead More...
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Families First Prevention Services Act Passed the House
June 2016.  On Tuesday, June 21, the Families First Prevention Services Act passed with bipartisan support.  This bill will change the SSA Title IV to enable states to provide prevention services and supports to children at risk of entering the child welfare system.  These services and supports include mental health and substance abuse prevention andRead More...
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ATN Board Members visit Capitol Hill
June 2016. Lorraine Schneider, Board President and Sandy Davis, Board Member, along with Julie Beem, ATN’s Executive Director called on many key legislators in Washington DC to discuss the needs of traumatized children and their families and to encourage support of the bipartisan Families First Prevention Services Act, which passed the House while ATN wasRead More...
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Three Experts Join ATN’s Advisory Council
April 2016. The Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN), the voice for traumatized children and their families since 1995,  has added three Advisors to their newly formed Advisory Council.  The Advisory Council is a group of experts in the areas of Child Development, Early Childhood Trauma, Attachment/Trauma Disorders, Adoption, Trauma-Sensitive Education, At-Risk Youth and other ChildRead More...
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DON’T Muscle Through
by:  Gari Lister I woke up this morning and checked my phone as I lay in bed (yes, I know it’s terrible. . . ) and here is what I read over and over again:   “I’m done.” “I can’t take it anymore.  I just can’t.” “He’s killed the best parts of me.” “I hateRead More...
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That Familiar Holiday Rant: “You’ll never be my real family!”
by:  D. Craig Peterson   Six words. For many vulnerable children, they give context to a complicated history.  For many parents who’ve opened their hearts, they cut to the bone. The words unfortunately rear their ugly head, especially during the holidays – when family gatherings are the norm. I know too well. After years ofRead More...
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ATN Joins Coalition Urging Georgia to End Discrimination Against Children with Emotional Disorders
November 2015. A broad coalition of advocacy groups – including the Attachment & Trauma Network – is urging the state of Georgia to transform its separate and unequal educational program serving thousands of children with behavioral disabilities into a system that provides needed services and supports to integrate students into their own local schools. TheRead More...
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I Believe Therapeutic Parenting Sets the Stage
by:  Julie Beem Every day ATN gets calls and emails from parents struggling to find answers for their children’s behaviors.  These behaviors are the result of early, often chronic, trauma.  Whether the child has experienced abuse, neglect, painful medical procedures or witness violence, these Adverse Childhood Experiences alter the child’s social and emotional development.  TheyRead More...
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I Believe in ATN
by:  Sheilah Davidson Nearly 19 years ago, my husband and I adopted a newborn. It took us years to learn that our beautiful, funny, athletic daughter was affected by the trauma her birthmother experienced while she was pregnant. After many, many therapies and social service interventions as well as endless complaints from teachers, administrators andRead More...
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I Believe Square Pegs Need Trauma-Sensitive Schools
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 researchersRead More...
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If You Believe
by:  Julie Beem The holidays are a time to focus on what we believe.  Do you believe in Santa Claus?  Peace on Earth?  Practicing Gratitude? Family as The Most Important Thing? Well, you can believe all of these things and more, yet, if you’re a traumatized child or the family who loves a traumatized child,Read More...
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Stop the Madness – Schools Must Be Trauma Sensitive
by:  Julie Beem I knew it — from the first time this photo and story showed up in my Facebook feed.  The security officer forcefully removed a teenage girl from her math class after she had been using her cell phone — by knocking her chair to the ground.  And then I saw an interviewRead More...
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Trauma Informed and The Power of Words
by:  Melissa Sadin The idea that our words have the power to wound might be as old as time itself. In the Bible it is said, “For in many things we offend in word….”  Many of us grew up with the sayings, “Loose lips sink ships” and “If you don’t have anything nice to say,Read More...
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I Am Not Alone – Why ATN?
by:   Jane Samuel I found the blue rubber wristlet where I had left it – at the bottom of my tote bag. As a mom and daughter who floats through her days carrying her work with her from home to carpool to cross country meets to piano lessons to visits at the senior citizenRead More...
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Everyday, I Get Up and Go to Work . . .
Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy.  You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote everyday, about the kind of community you want to live in. – Unknown by:  Julie Beem Everyday, I get up and stumble into my home office…to volunteer.  Often I’m three cups of coffee in and stillRead More...
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Inspiration: Taking Flight
by:  Gari Lister One of my youngest daughter’s biggest challenges is self esteem – and sadly her lack of self esteem is combined with an inability to imagine and dream. Not dream at night, but dream of an exciting future. My sweet girl can very easily imagine herself getting cancer, or epilepsy, or even cysticRead More...
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The Attachment Yardstick
by:  Melissa Sadin Typically, our children’s lives are measured by events such as birthdays, grades in school, graduation, etc. Recently, however, it occurred to me that there are other events by which I measure my son’s growth. Oh sure, I’m proud of him when he does well in sports, gets a good grade in school,Read More...
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Spec. Ed. Webinar — Interventions & Strategies for Attachment Trauma
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 @ 12 noon (eastern).     Join Melissa Sadin, M.A.T., M.Ed. and Julie Beem, ATN’s Executive Director for our second webinar on Special Education for Attachment Trauma.  This webinar will delve into evaluating behaviors that make learning challenging and interventions/strategies that can help traumatized children and those with attachment challenges toRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox: Calm Down Box
by:  Allison Cooke Douglas We’ve used a “Calm Down Box” with our child for years. It’s full of tools they can use when they are beginning to escalate. This is a specific child’s box, so it’s tailored to his specific sensory needs; yours would not look exactly the same. We offer it to him asRead More...
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Why I Always Renew My ATN Membership
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. IRead More...
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Special Education/IEPs for Children with Attachment Trauma – FREE Webinar
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 @ 12:00 pm EDT The Attachment & Trauma Network is hosting this FREE webinar will explore the hows and whys of special education for children who have Attachment Trauma (attachment disorders, developmental trauma, etc.) Melissa Sadin, M.Ed., M.A.T. and Julie Beem, ATN’s Executive Director will explore the steps of getting yourRead More...
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On Safari . . . at Home
by:  Gari Lister Earlier this month I was lucky enough to be able to go on safari in South Africa.  The most important component of our visit was two “game drives” each day – essentially several hours riding around the preserve looking for animals in a specially equipped land rover.  And if you are aRead More...
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Don’t Give Up on Kids like Charlie and Moms Like Me
We are thrilled to welcome Allison Cooke Douglas to the ATN blog team.  Allison is not only an adoptive and former foster mom, she is also a foster parent trainer and leader.  She currently serves as a DCS Foster Parent Education Specialist for Centerstone in Tennessee.  As her opening post, we are sharing her remarks asRead More...
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First Day – Joy, Sadness and Anxiety
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 postingRead More...
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A Niche for Every Child
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 nicheRead More...
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Catching More Flies with Honey – IEP Meeting Strategy
by:  Julie Beem “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” my grandmother was fond of saying. I have to admit that I didn’t start out using this principle for IEP meetings. I was way too intimidated. At first I believed what I was told in IEP meetings, that everyone there had the singular purposeRead More...
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What Now? My Child is Struggling at School
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. WithinRead More...
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Back to School with Traumatized Students: What Do We Tell New Teachers?
By: Jen Alexander, MA, NCC, RPT It’s back to school time for all of us. It can be overwhelming to think about what to tell this year’s teachers about our children. What’s too much? What’s too little? The answers, of course, are different for everyone, but here are some ideas to think about sharing. EducatorsRead More...
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The Curse of the Missing Homework
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, theyRead More...
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Welcome to My Power Struggle
by:  David Kerrigan Power struggles happen, and it’s hard to avoid them. Hard but possible. You ask your child to take out the garbage. The child says, “No!” and maybe adds a few unprintable words. Suddenly your mind is flooded with fear. Fear that if you don’t win this battle you’ll never win the warRead More...
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Perseverance & Endurance – Qualities of a Champion Runner … and His Adoptive Dad
by:  Julie Beem If you read one story about adoption today – this is the one. Your social media feed may be full of news about attachment & trauma, Fetal Alcohol, and PTSD, but don’t miss this article. I can tell you now this article’s not going to be what you expect. But then again,Read More...
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What NATA DAY is Not!
By:  D Craig Peterson NATA Day is coming June 19th. Let me tell you what it’s not. It’s “not a” day to be alone. All families need support. Wear a blue ribbon and tell others what it means. It’s “not a” day to be angry. Sure, go ahead and vent if you need the emotionalRead More...
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Once Upon a Mountain
By:  Julie Beem Once Upon a Mountain is a great title for this documentary, which is so full of the ethereal beauty of Jasper Mountain.  Heck, the children even get to live in a castle.  The dormitory building was designed to look like a castle, at the children’s request.  And as Jasper Mountain’s director, Dr.Read More...
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The Dark Matter of Love
By:  Julie Beem Just like an integral ballroom dance, the dance of attachment between a parent and their newly adopted child is both difficult to do and so beautiful to watch.  In this film we get the rare opportunity to meet a family prior to their adoption, as they prepare to bring home three childrenRead More...
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My Name is Faith
By:  Julie Beem Brave is the only way to describe this film.  My first brush with this bravery was in New Orleans over two years ago, where I met Tif Junker, Faith’s mom and attended a film festival where My Name is Faith was one of the featured contestants.  Although the audience was small inRead More...
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THE BOARDER: BRINGING TRAUMA TO LIFE
By:  D Craig Peterson A film can be powerful – especially in giving victims a voice. Think Precious or Schindler’s List. But could a 100-minute dramatization show the challenges of parenting severely unattached children? The answer is yes. In 2012, Jane Ryan – a long-time parent of children from hard places and a clinician –Read More...
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The Spectrum of Films Available for NATA Day
In case you haven’t heard, one of the most popular ways to get involved in the National Attachment Trauma Awareness (NATA) Day is to host or attend a Viewing Party.  The NATA Day partners have made four films available for hosts to show, completely free of charge, to their friends, families and community.  Details aboutRead More...
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NATA Day 2015 – We Need Your Help!
We NEED your help. Every year, millions of children suffer from early childhood trauma and develop Attachment Trauma, also known as complex trauma. ATN and many other organizations involved with traumatized children and their families have designated June 19th as National Attachment Trauma Awareness Day. And this June, we are asking YOU – and EVERYONERead More...
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Trauma Resiliency Model/Community Resiliency Model (TRM/CRM)®
Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM)® Training is a program designed to teach skills to clinicians working with children and adults with traumatic stress reactions. TRM is a mind-body approach and focuses on the biological basis of trauma and the automatic, defensive ways that the human body responds when faced with perceived threats to self and others,Read More...
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Proactively Give Yourself a Mother’s Day…Even if it’s Not This Sunday
by:  Julie Beem It’s coming. There are ads, ads and more ads for flowers, clothing, chocolate…and Hallmark. Any preschool worth its weight is making handprint art and churches are planning luncheons and other celebrations. Ugh…it’s Mother’s Day! What a train wreck this holiday can be for families of traumatized children, especially those who were formedRead More...
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ATN joins Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoptions (FRUA), Attach-China International and INCIID to petition on capital hill
Nov 19, 2013: ATN, along with Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoptions (FRUA), Attach-China International and INCIID, jointly sent this letter to the US Representatives Langevin and Bass, along with the panelists of their November 21 “rehoming briefing” on Capitol Hill.
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Joint letter about congressional rehoming briefing
Read the letter here: Joint letter about congressional rehoming briefing -ATN, FRUA, Attach-China International and INCIID
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Beem accepts award for ATN
September 24, 2013: Attachment & Trauma Network was one of over 30 child-focused organizations recognized for their outstanding work by the Atlanta Braves Foundation. Julie Beem, Executive Director of ATN, accepted the award for the organization, which includes a grant for a training event in the Atlanta metro area in early 2014.
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Beem quoted in Time Magazine article on Broken Adoptions
September 20, 2013: Time Magazine article: Broken Adoptions: When Parents “Re-Home” Adopted Children quotes ATN’s Executive Director, Julie Beem. Read here:
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ATN ATN, along with Attach-China International and INCIID, issue statement about report
September 13, 2013: ATN, along with Attach-China International and INCIID, issue this statement about the Reuters/NBC “Rehoming” report.
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Benckendorf on Children with Trauma for Educators
September, 2013: Kathleen Benckendorf, an ATN Board Member, wrote this very comprehensive article on Children of Trauma: What Educators Need to Know for the National Council for Adoption’s Advocate publication.
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FASD/Pre-natal Substance Exposure
Tips for Adopting or Fostering Children Prenatally Exposed to Alcohol or Other Drugs 1. Work with informed professionals in quality adoption agencies. 2. Explore your feelings about alcohol and drug abuse, particularly among pregnant women. 3. Discuss the child’s background with your social worker so that you have a realistic picture of the birth parents’Read More...
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The Delayed Effect: When the Fruits of Our Labor Finally Bloom
by:  Craig Peterson Six months ago I sat down to write a letter to my 23-year-old son who was incarcerated three hours away. After re-reading the entire stack of his letters, I realized he’d done much soul searching. He had shared many deeply personal thoughts about his past failures. Was I now man enough toRead More...
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“Don’t You DARE Say That”
By: Deborah A. Novo I love my dog. She is an 11 year old, white Schnauzer who exudes such love. My husband and I had just returned from our usual, evening walk with Sadie. We were standing in the kitchen, laughing and drinking iced tea when a storm came upon us. “Why don’t you pickRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox — The Landing Pad
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 wellRead More...
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Lessons Learned: New Trauma on Top of Old
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.Read More...
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Events and Training Opportunities Coming Your Way!
Did spring break leave you feeling worn out?  Fill up your therapeutic parenting tank with one (or more) of these trainings and seminars coming up.   I hope you can take advantage of one or more! Austin, Texas — April 17 Empower, Embrace, Emerge Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center (CTATC)  describes its second annual conferenceRead More...
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Adoptive Parents ARE Biological Parents
by:  Julie Beem I had the incredible honor to interview Dr. Dan Siegel a couple of days ago in a webinar that will soon be released on ATN’s Learning Center. We did this in conjunction with Echo Parenting and Education from California. If you have not had the privilege to hear Dr. Siegel speak orRead More...
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Silly Ignorant Me: What I Thought My Child Heard
by:  Craig Peterson When my mother and father spoke, I responded. So did my five siblings. That’s all we knew. I never gave the dynamic much thought until raising children of my own. You see, all six are adopted. Unfortunately, none responded to me like I did with my parents. Not even close. Didn’t myRead More...
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What is Strange?
by:  Kelly Killian You’re going to find this strange, but my husband and I like watching crime shows. We like learning about the psychological aspects of what makes criminals tick. It was during one of these shows that we had an “AH HA” moment about our kids. In the show, Criminal Minds, Agent Hotchner (playedRead More...
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Beyond Scared
by:  Deborah A. Novo It is natural to feel apprehensive and scared navigating through some of life’s challenges and expectations. Much of the time, we can do this with confidence and competence. However, scared doesn’t begin to identify the depth and breadth of the feeling that is experienced when our children with Reactive Attachment DisorderRead More...
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Self Compassion for the Trauma Momma
We are delighted to bring you this guest blog from Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, who is a therapist specializing in adoption, attachment, and trauma and a founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.  Robyn earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah and holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Therapy with FosterRead More...
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FASD and RAD — “Cannot vs. Will Not”
by:  Craig Peterson Early childhood trauma. Complex behaviors. The two often go hand in hand as parents and professionals will attest. Although they create enormous challenges for families, receiving an accurate mental health diagnosis for a child can be another challenge altogether. Connecting the dots isn’t always easy. When adopting my three first children –Read More...
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Tuesday Toolbox — Bedtime and Sleep Issues
This post originally ran as the second post in a two part series last October.  We are re-running it because so many of our traumatized children have sleep issues (including my youngest daughter, who routinely stays up past her mom’s bedtime!).  Jennie’s post has wonderful and practical information to help parents, especially in these challengingRead More...
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Changing Rehoming Laws Isn’t the Answer
by:  Julie Beem What do the stories of Arkansas Rep. Harris and his wife, Torry Hansen (who returned her son to Russia in 2010), and the families in last year’s Reuters report on rehoming have in common? All were adoptive parents who found they could no longer safely parent their children in their homes. WhileRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox — Silliness Builds a Bridge
by:  Gari Lister My middle daughter has started to follow in her older sister’s footsteps and taken to hiding in her room.  Oh, she’s not literally hiding — she’s “cleaning” it or she’s “reading”.  But it takes hours, doesn’t seem to make an enormous difference in the cleanliness of the room or the number ofRead More...
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Representative Harris and the “Rehoming” Controversy
Both social media and the press have been peppered with stories about Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris, whose adopted little girl was sadly sexually assaulted by someone the Harris family placed her with after they found themselves unable to handle the challenges of parenting her.  Many of the news stories have vilified Representative Harris —Read More...
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The Trauma Van
by:  Craig Peterson I chose to laugh, not cry.  My minivan looks like a wreck. But the two of us could never part ways. We’ve shared too much history together. In 2001 with two new sons in tow, my family of seven needed more space. So while the rain came down in sheets, I negotiatedRead More...
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The Tide
by:  Melissa Sadin The Tide “The tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the shore. The music stops, and yet it echoes on in sweet refrains. For every joy that passes, something beautiful remains.”   That was a poem that was on a wooden wall hanging in my childhood home.  I had occasion toRead More...
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Does This “In Your Face” Video Help Children with RAD?
by:  Julie Beem While the “dress color” controversy and video of two escaped llamas is going viral with the general public, this video is definitely making the rounds on Facebook and in the blogsphere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ypmGTGGN7A Whenever ATN finds something that can be useful to parents of traumatized children and to those who have RAD andRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox – I Love You Rituals
by:  Gari Lister I think one of the most challenging elements to having multiple children who suffered early trauma is the dance of building both a cohesive family  and one-on-one connections with each child. My younger girls no longer have severe attachment issues, but I have found that taking steps to enhance our connection goesRead More...
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Upcoming Conferences and Trainings Coming Your Way
by:  Gari Lister As the mom to three kids from trauma backgrounds, I find that my therapeutic toolbox needs frequent updates!  My girls are very different, and the techniques that work with one do not always work with the others.  There are a number of events scheduled for the spring and summer of 2015 —Read More...
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The Borderline in My Daughter’s Personality – Part 3
This is the final installment in a three-part series that ran earlier this week.  The first installment can be found here, and the second here. by:  Julie Beem “Borderline feels like I’m going to lose my mind You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline…” Madonna As I read further into this article, IRead More...
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The Borderline in My Daughter’s Personality – Part 2
This post is the second entry in a three-part blog.  The third part will run tomorrow.  The first part ran yesterday; you can read it here. by:  Julie Beem “Borderline feels like I’m going to lose my mind You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline…” Madonna As I read further into thisRead More...
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The Borderline in My Daughter’s Personality – Part 1
Today’s post is the first in a series of three blogs about Julie’s daughter and borderline personality disorder.  Parts 2 and 3 will run Thursday and Friday. by:  Julie Beem “Borderline feels like I’m going to lose my mind You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline…”  Madonna We’ve been at this wholeRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox – Giving Your Child a Sensory Diet at Home
by:  Jane Samuel Like many children from hard places our daughter was diagnosed with sensory issues. As I began to get a grasp on her sensory needs and avoidances and attended OT sessions I kept a running list of what helped her and what would be a good tool to use at home. This TuesdayRead More...
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The Other “B” Word
by:  Craig Peterson  Before anyone’s imagination runs wild, I’m not talking about that “B” word but the other one we know all too well. “Birth families.” For nearly all of us who’ve adopted – whether domestically or internationally, our children will bombard us with questions about their birth families. Probably sooner than later. Maybe theyRead More...
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What if I Had a Behavior Plan?
by:  Julie Beem The world is enamored with behavior plans for anyone whose behaviors are “out of line” with society. But do they work? I can’t speak for children with other disabilities, but children who have been traumatized and have attachment challenges just do not respond to traditional behavior modification plans. And frankly, I don’tRead More...
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Ghost Ship
by:  Deborah A. Novo I hear you speaking and sense no depth. I hear you repeatedly lying, while looking me dead in the eye, and see you so broken. Lying is your normal and truth is the enemy. It has become more comfortable to control your life by sustaining lies rather than tell the truth.Read More...
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Toolbox Tuesday – Meet WALTER
by:  Julie Beem Even after therapeutically parenting for at least 100 years (ok, more like 17), I still love to get a new tool. This tool came to me over the weekend while I was listening in on a Nancy Thomas seminar. Little did I know that I’d have the opportunity to use it withinRead More...
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Do You Believe?
by: Gari Lister Have you read the Attachment & Trauma Network‘s belief statement?  I hadn’t until I went to the board retreat in January, and since then it has inspired me on a daily basis.  It reminds me why ATN is important — why we need to fight for traumatized children and their families —Read More...
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The Amygdala – Stopping Flight or Fight at its Source
by:  Craig Peterson What on earth is the amygdala? Most people have no idea. Even less can say it correctly. Let’s start with the pronunciation. Amygdala contains four syllables with the accent on the second one. Just remember to say “ah” three times. ah-MIG-dah-lah Now that I’ve made you look silly, let’s move onto theRead More...
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The Search for a School That Fits
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
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Tuesday Toolbox: “Touching” the Heart of Trauma
by: Jennie Murdock Mother and DaughterI opened my email andwas reminded of the title for the ATN blog: "Touching the Heart of Trauma". It struck me that quite literally what we need to do IS "touch" the heart of trauma by touching the body.
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Hugging A Stranger on the Plane
by: Julie Beem No, this isn’t a blog about indiscriminate affection. And no, this is not a mom you will read about in a sensationalized report on “underground adoptive/foster families”. But it happens much more often than most people know.
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Does it Work for Me?
by:  Gari Lister Parenting an adult child with reactive attachment disorder — especially a young adult — can be challenging, to say the least.  My oldest is 23, and we have been through a LOT with her since she became a “legal” adult.  We have faced questions like: do we press charges, do we giveRead More...
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What a “Secure Base” Looks Like
by:  Kathleen Benckendorf ATN is delighted to welcome Kathleen Benckendorf as a guest voice on Touching Trauma at its Heart.  Kathleen, a parent and a former member of ATN’s Board of Directors, is a relentless researcher and seeker of answers. An engineer by education and experience, Kathleen has also trained as a bodyworker and inRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox — Mama’s Room and Mama’s Bed
by:  Gari Lister Yesterday’s Good Morning America featured a story on co-sleeping based on controversy a blogger sparked when she admitted to sharing a bed with her six year old son.  The piece opened with a clip of a little girl whining that she was scared and wanted to sleep with mommy — and theRead More...
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ADHD versus Anxiety
by:  Craig Peterson A recent article about the misdiagnosing ADHD in children with early trauma has been making the rounds. Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon, let’s remember that many mental health issues are at play. Not all children are the same. Each needs to be carefully diagnosed. For traumatized children who haven’t begun toRead More...
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In Honor of Gregory C. Keck, PhD
We at the Attachment & Trauma Network were devastated this weekend to hear of the death of Gregory C. Keck, PhD, the founder of  the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, and a leader in the treatment of early trauma.  We plan to honor Dr. Keck with several memorial posts this week.  Our thoughts andRead More...
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In Honor of Gregory C. Keck, PhD
We at the Attachment & Trauma Network were devastated this weekend to hear of the death of Gregory C. Keck, PhD, the founder of  the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, and a leader in the treatment of early trauma.  We plan to honor Dr. Keck with several memorial posts this week.  Our thoughts andRead More...
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Lessons Learned: Good People Still Exist
by:  Craig Peterson GOOD PEOPLE STILL EXIST And thank goodness they do. Here’s why. After three days of dealing with her past trauma and feeling overwhelmed, my young adult daughter told me she couldn’t take any more stress. She had to escape. She put the key to her apartment under the doormat and left –Read More...
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Therapeutic Parents — Check out These Trainings Coming Your Way
As we begin 2015, many of us may have resolved to learn more about early childhood/attachment trauma and attachment disorders. We may need to delve into how to be therapeutic parents or need a refresher in strategies to stay calm and provide a healing environment. The following events are not organized by the Attachment &Read More...
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It’s Not Your Fault
by:  Gari Lister I spoke with a mom yesterday for close to an hour.  She wasn’t asking for help for her children — instead, she was desperate for help for herself.  Why?  Because she was frustrated that she hadn’t been able to accept that her children weren’t loving to her.  She blamed herself — theRead More...
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Tuesday Toolbox: When You Have to Go Away
by:  Gari Lister Changes in schedule and structure can be hard for many traumatized children, and when you combine changes in schedule and structure with a parent’s travel, everything can go haywire.  As my husband put it this weekend when I came back from the ATN Board retreat, “when you’re not here, everything is weird forRead More...
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Lessons Learned: Letting Down My Guard TOO Soon
December 12, 2015 by:  Craig Peterson Everyone at the elementary school was ready for my two newest sons. The principal had the facts. She “got” it. After several lengthy meetings, the teachers also understood and prepared for a smooth mid-year transition. Most likely, they felt sorry. Who wouldn’t after reading the one-page summary I provided?Read More...
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Tuesday Toolbox: Using Family Traditions to Bond over the Holidays
December 9, 2014 by:  Gari Lister For many traumatized children, the holidays are stressful — changes in schedule and expectations, less physical activity and, of course, lots of close family time. Plus we parents inadvertently make things worse — as we stress about how to wrap all the presents, cook all the food and makeRead More...
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Facebook and Birth Family!
December 8, 2014 by: Deborah A. Novo I picked up the phone to hear my, then 18 year old son, say, “Mom, you will NEVER believe who I just found on facebook!” I found myself holding my breath as I instinctively knew to whom he was referring. The woman who gave birth to him andRead More...
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Got Self Compassion?
December 4, 2014 by:  David Kerrigan In the holiday season, we’re reminded to remember the neediest among us. From every spiritual tradition I know of, we’re called to compassion, mercy, loving kindness, treating others as we would want to be treated… For therapeutic parents, that means having compassion for traumatized kids. Being patient when they’reRead More...
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What ATN Means to Me
December 2, 2014 by:  Julie Beem A long time ago in what feels like a galaxy far away, I was a sleep-deprived mom of a raging toddler whose behaviors made absolutely no sense. I was an experienced “good enough” mom — so what was I doing wrong? My introduction to ATN came via a groupRead More...
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What ATN Means to Me
December 2, 2014 by:  Jane Samuel One night in 2007 I slipped away leaving my youngest daughter – who was well into one of  her daily tantrums – in the hands of my husband. Beyond despair I climbed the stairs to my bathroom on the third floor of our house where I hoped I couldn’tRead More...
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What ATN Means to Me
December 2, 2014 by:  Gari Lister In 2007, I thought I knew all about attachment.  We had adopted an eleven year old from a Russian orphanage in 2002, and I had read  everything I could get my hands on, so I  was well versed in building attachment in older children.  What I didn’t understand, though,Read More...
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What ATN Means to Me: Miles to go Before “We” Sleep
December 2, 2014 by:  Craig Peterson Perhaps poet Robert Frost knew something about trauma. No doubt, the images in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” relate to our families:   Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though. He will not see me stopping here To watchRead More...
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Unselfie-ness
December 1, 2014 by:  Julie Beem When ATN joined the #GivingTuesday campaign the idea of members posting their “selfie” photos that communicate why they support ATN really struck a cord. Not only because it is a simple, clever way to tell others about our work over social media. But mostly it was because I getRead More...
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Do the “Roundpen” Work with Your Children
by: Nancy Spoolstra It was over five years ago that I relinquished the position of Executive Director of ATN. After more than a dozen years of eating, sleeping and breathing this organization and the families it serves, I finally hit the wall. I actually hit the wall before that, but there was no one ready, willing and able to pick
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Lessons Learned: Trauma Sensitive Teachers
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
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Warning Labels
November 20, 2014 By:  Melissa Sadin I recently took my son, TS, on a mission trip with the church youth group.   The group was to spend four days helping to prepare a camp in the NJ Pine Barrens for opening day. It was a challenge for my son because he does not do well withRead More...
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The Cowardly Lion vs. The Courageous Lion….
By: Deborah A. Novo “Doesn't he know how good he has it? He has no clue how lucky he is to have all that he does. Why does he still sabotage everything he does? Why does he always have to learn the hard way? Why does he still lie, you can't believe a word he says. It is time for
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Tuesday Toolbox: Building Self Esteem Through the Special Olympics
by: D. Craig Peterson My son Andrew recently had a week to shine at the Special Olympics USA Games – a personal success years in the making. And now three gold medals to his name! I will never forget how far he has come. In second grade he was the boy often confined to “the post” at recess. Not because
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Lessons Learned – Relationships over Things
By: Craig Peterson Craig Peterson's ChildrenI had the best of intentions. I never would have imagined my misstep – the precedent I was setting. After all, I was simply trying to be kind to my two newest sons. They came to me after a decade of extreme neglect and severe abuse at the hands of their birthmother’s boyfriend. Both endured
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A Meaning Behind the Suffering
November 13, 2014 By:  Marc Deprey It is always hard to find meaning when under a stream of unrelenting suffering. The tragedy of early trauma, the resulting pain, and the stress, the strong feeling that some great potential is being lost—all this characterizes the experience of a parent of children of trauma. I certainly feelRead More...
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Orange is the New Black
by: Melissa Sadin Orange is the New BlackEvery few years, the fashion industry announces a new color that for a time becomes as popular as black. The first time I heard this phrase it was red. Red was the new black. I bought some red and am now more comfortable wearing red than I used to be. The most recent
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Toolbox Tuesday: Bath Time Can be a Great Way to Build Attachment
by: Linda Forsythe Mother and DaughterWhen my daughter came to live with me as an eight year old, she was not a happy camper. She wanted to stay with her foster mother, the fifth foster parent of five years in foster care. She was not impressed with another move, nor with the idea of adoption by me. We didn’t have
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Support ATN and Simplify Your Holidays
November 10, 2014 by:  Julie Beem Food. It’s an important part of life and an important part of family. With Thanksgiving just days away, many of us are already thinking about food for that special day. Do we roast, smoke or deep fry the turkey? Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes? Who’s bringing the green beans?Read More...
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Lessons Learned – Entitled and Detached
By: Craig Peterson Boys with GiftsSince my two sons hadn’t been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder when they were adopted at nine and ten, I didn't know to look for control. What I did see was their sense of entitlement.
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That Mom Could Be Me
November 6, 2014 by: Gari Lister Tuesday morning I checked Facebook and saw a post that made me start to cry before I even finished reading it.  A “critical” missing person in my neighborhood — a teenage girl.  The police notice originally mentioned a history of childhood abuse, and noted that a suicide note hadRead More...
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WARNING: DO NOT RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER
By: Deborah Novo It has been fifteen years that I have been "in the trenches" with two sons with Reactive Attachment Disorder. I have had so many moments feeling inspired and motivated to be an awesome therapeutic parent only to be plunged into the mindset of " I can't take it anymore."
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Thoughts from the Board: Nancy Spoolstra
by: Nancy Spoolstra, Founder I nNancy Spoolstraever cease to be amazed at where, how and when conversations arise about kids with attachment or trauma issues. I seem to be going through business cards lately at a pretty good clip.
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Lessons Learned — Less Chores, More Backgammon
by: Craig Peterson My oldest son hated chores. Even the mention of the word set him off! IMG_1235No wonder. Before being adopted, he was regularly told to not only watch his five younger siblings but also clean the family apartment. Although he tried – and he did try -- his step-father was never pleased with his effort and used the
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Wearing a Mask
October 30, 2014 by:  Kelly Killian As Halloween approaches and children begin to pick out costumes, they pick out a new “personality” to try on for a day. It makes me think of our kids.  So often what you see is a mask that they are wearing for the occasion.  It is not the trueRead More...
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Bedtime and Sleep Issues: Part II
By: Jennie Murdock In my last post, I wrote about some of the things every parent with a child with attachment issues and a history of early trauma should consider if their child has difficulty going to sleep, staying asleep or nightmares. Some of those challenges are long-term problems that can't be solved overnight. As we work with our children
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Tuesday Toolbox: Bedtime and Sleep Issues: Part I
By: Jennie Murdock I believe in serendipity....."an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident". As I was preparing to write this, my first post on sleep issues, I opened a recent "MindHealth" report by Dr. Gary Small. In it he was addressing the issue of "masked depression" and all of its tell-tale signs. The report reminded me that for sure,
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Upcoming Conferences, Retreats and Trainings on Attachment and Trauma
October 27, 2014 by:  Gari Lister One of the things that I have learned as a mom to traumatized kids is that I am a much stronger, healthier and happier mom when I take time to refresh my arsenal of parenting techniques.  My husband and I will have been parents to three adopted girls forRead More...
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Lessons Learned – Understand Attachment Even Before the Placement Begins
By: Craig Peterson Two Little BoysAlex and Travis are biological siblings. In 2001, they needed a home. One was nine and the other ten. I wanted to help. I felt called. Since I had done well with my first four children – all diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I thought these two would be easier to parent. Both were high
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Christine Moers: Homeschooling a Child with Attachment Trauma
October 15, 2014 by:  Gari Lister Christine Moers:  Homeschooling a Child with Attachment Trauma As part of ATN‘s Educating Traumatized Children Summit, Christine Moers, a parent of both adopted and biological children and a parent coach, spoke about the benefits of homeschooling traumatized children. For so many traumatized children, school — even with well-meaning teachers, evenRead More...
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Dr. Susan Craig: Integrating Trauma Sensitive Best Practices in Your Classroom
October 14, 2014 by:  Gari Lister Through Wednesday, ATN is keeping open several of the most-requested interviews presented as part of its Educating Traumatized Children Summit, and we in the Blog want to help keep readers talking, so for the next several days we will highlight several other interviews.  This one is a must-know forRead More...
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Jenny Kendal Interview: Looking at Charter & Virtual School Options
October 10, 2014 by:  Lorraine Schneider This interview was part of the ATN Summit on Educating Traumatized Children (Day 8). Jenny Kendal:  Looking at Charter & Virtual School Options Choice, choices and more choices. We have traditional public brick and mortar schools. We can choose a private school. We can homeschool.There are magnet schools andRead More...
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Bob Burroughs: School in an Attachment-Focused Residential Program
October 9, 2014 by:  Lorraine Schneider This interview was part of ATNs Educating Traumatized Children Summit (Day 10). Bob Burroughs, PhD:  School in an Attachment-Focused Residential Program First, do no harm. That’s what Bob Burroughs, head of the school at CALO says. We would all agree with him. Right? No one wants to harm ourRead More...
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Lark Eshleman: Curriculum and the Traumatized Child
October 4, 2014 by:  Gari Lister This interview was part of ATN’s Educating Traumatized Children Summit (Day 5). Lark Eshleman, PhD:  Curriculum and the Traumatized Child Lark Eshleman explains that school curriculum — both reading and assignments — can often trigger traumatized children and send them into a dysregulated state. Which assignments and which booksRead More...
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Larry Smith: Does the Child in My Classroom have RAD?
October 3, 2014 by:  Lorraine Schneider This interview was presented as part of ATN’s Educating Traumatized Children Summit (Day 4). Larry Smith, LCSW-C:  Does the Child in My Classroom have RAD?  I believe that Larry Smith hit the nail on the head during his interview. If you are parenting, teaching or working with traumatized children, youRead More...
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Jody McVittie: How to Teach Self-Regulation and Why You Should
October 2, 2014 by:  Gari Lister The interviews on Day 3 of  ATN’s Educating Traumatized Children Summit are all about helping kids learn to regulate themselves — and be regulated enough to not only learn in school, but succeed in life. Jody McVittie, who works with a nonprofit Sound Discipline, offers us a number ofRead More...
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Melissa Sadin: ADHD vs. Trauma: When The Duck in Your Class Roars like a Lion
October 1, 2014 by:  Gari Lister Today I am delighted to highlight one of the fabulous interviews from the second day of ATN‘s Educating Traumatized Children Summit. And this one is totally near and dear to my heart because it is an interview with the very awesome Melissa Sadin, who also just happens to beRead More...
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Joel Ristuccia: Impact of Trauma on a Child’s Ability to Learn
September 30, 2014 by:  Gari Lister I am delighted to be able to share some thoughts on the very substantive and insightful interview of Joel Ristuccia, Ed.M, from the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative.  His interview was presented as part of ATN’s Educating Traumatized Children Summit. Joel Ristuccia: Impact of Trauma onRead More...
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Dr. Robert Anda: Childhood Adversity – the Nation’s Largest Public Health Crisis
September 30, 2014 by:  Gari Lister So — wow! — ATN‘s Educating Traumatized Children Summit kicked off with some blockbuster interviews today! Throughout the Summit, the ATN Blog will bring you some of the insights the nearly two dozen experts being interviewed offer about ways we can work together to help traumatized children learn. SomeRead More...
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Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
Currently Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is the diagnosis associated with attachment impairment. There is little research available as to the prevalence of this disorder, but there are thousands of children who have been impacted by trauma and exhibit many of the symptoms that are part of the definition below. Some children are diagnosed with PTSDRead More...
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Neurofeedback
More information to come. Meanwhile, check out these links to learn more: EEG Info  International Society for Neurofeedback and Research Neurofeedback at the Trauma Center Arleta James Blog on Neurofeedback  an article by Sebern Fisher MA , an attachment therapist who successfully uses neurofeedback in her practice. Neurofeedback: A Treatment for Reactive Attachment Disorder 
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Developmental Trauma Disorder
In 2009, professionals researching and treating Complex Trauma in children proposed a new diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to capture the dysfunctions experienced by children and adolescents exposed to chronic traumatic stress. Some of these children did not meet the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the disorderRead More...
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How Trauma Disrupts Attachment
Having a healthy attachment to the primary caregiver as a young infant profoundly influences the child’s overall emotional health. When the infant has a need, expresses the need and the need is met by a loving caregiver over and over again, healthy attachment develops. A break in this attachment cycle ( visit Understanding Attachment to learn more)Read More...
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How to Select a Therapist
ATN’s Official Policy on Treatment: ATN encourages all members to seek professional attachment & trauma therapy for their children. Information on this website or support from other ATN members cannot replace trauma-sensitive, attachment-focused therapy. We do not endorse specific therapists or treatment modalities. All parents should thoroughly research their options and ask for references. InRead More...
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A Bigger, Better & Bolder Blog
By: Gari Lister Welcome to ATN's new and expanded blog! We have been working the last several months to plan a more active - and hopefully interactive - blog that will become a real resource for all of us fighting in the trenches to help our children heal from trauma and attachment issues. As ATN's Blog Manager, I am proud
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What are Attachment Disorders?
Children who have had breaks from their primary caregiver, unmitigated pain, abuse, neglect or in other ways have not had their needs met can often be impaired in their ability to develop healthy emotional attachments. This is currently called by many names, such as insecure attachment.  These less-than-healthy ways of attaching are often not diagnosed asRead More...
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What is healthy attachment?
Healthy attachment starts neurochemically in the womb. An expectant mother, happy about her coming child, takes good care of her health and nutrition, isn’t under chronic stress and stays away from harmful toxins (like drugs and alcohol). So the baby’s brain development is optimal. When the child is born, he is immediately given to hisRead More...
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Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP)
Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a treatment approach for families of traumatized children or those with disorders of attachment. It was originally developed by Daniel Hughes, an expert in attachment and trauma. DDP principally involves creating a PLACE (playful, loving, accepting, curious, and empathic) environment in which the therapist and the parent attune to the child’sRead More...
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Thanksgiving
By: Jane Samuel ‘Tis the season – for thanks giving that is. I see friends posting things they are thankful for each day on Facebook. There are probably similar lists on Twitter, Tumbler and Google+. I suspect my teens are being flooded with them on Instagram and my own email and snail mail is filling up with Thanksgiving letters from
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Because It Is Hard
By: Gari Lister “We choose to go to the moon . . . not because it is easy, but because it is hard . . . because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.. . . " John F. Kennedy, Jr. (Sept. 12, 1962
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Orphan Sunday vs. Orphan Reality
By: Julie Beem Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27
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“Loss” – The “L” Word
By: Jane Samuel Driving to school this morning my youngest (chronological age 11, emotional age – always open for debate) and I were discussing her father’s upcoming business trip to Asia. Pulling up to a stoplight, I glanced sideways and did a quick check of her demeanor. While she has gotten much better in the past few years about family
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I’m So Strong . . .
by: Julie Beem “I’m so strong that I could destroy this whole house.” His declaration was matter-of-fact, not launched as a threat but to gauge my response. “Really?” I responded, “why would you want to destroy my house?” “Because I’m powerful enough.”
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Letting Go
by: Jane Samuel She calls me from the spa-sleep-over-birthday-party and I am not surprised. There is a catch in her voice and she is asking me to bring money. I don’t question. I just get in the car and drive to her.
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Abandoned
By: Jane Samuel I knew the minute my husband pulled out of the lot and darted across the street to drop me at the pharmacy that it was a bad idea. Our youngest had run back into the retirement home where my father lived to retrieve a forgotten item and my husband thought it would be quicker to pull across,
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Resilience – Inborn or Learned – Part 2
By: Julie Beem The listing of factors that make children resilient from Resilience Theory: A Literature Review by Adrian DePlessis VanBreda made total sense to me. But the paragraph of conclusion supposedly based on these factors did not:
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Resilience – Inborn or Learned – Part 1
By: Julie Beem There’s a lot of talk about resilience being the antidote to trauma. Lots of workshops, books, and training programs talk about building resilience in kids as a way to counteract the impact of trauma in their lives. On the surface all this seems to make sense, but it’s always puzzled me. What did people mean by resilience,
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Dos & Don’ts: An Adoptive & Foster Parent’s Letter to Family and Friends
ATN is delighted to include another post from Carol Lozier. Carol, a member of ATN's Board of Directors, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky. Her website, www.forever-families.com, offers a blog, free downloadable tools for families, an excerpt of her book, and a supportive community of adoptive and foster parents. By: Carol Lozier Have you ever
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Real Illusion
By: Marc Deprey Perhaps our suffering is a wake up call that our investment in what we call reality—feelings, forms—is misplaced. We are more than just individual life, but life itself. I’m always struck with the limitations of language and the assumptions inherent within. Words relate to the experience of physical reality. Yet much of what words mean is metaphorical.
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Go Big: Self Care to the Tenth Degree
By: Gari Lister What is a good mom? Here’s how I would answer a questionnaire on how I was a good mom today: I drove my ten year old an hour and twenty minutes each way to skating camp; I tried really really hard to talk to my twelve year old about sensitive pre-teen things I cannot share here; I
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What’s in a Name? Part 4 – Is Keeping a Wrong Label OK?
By: Julie Beem Many of the parents who contact ATN have children with multiple diagnoses and we're frequently puzzled about which ones are the "right" ones. I'm included in that group. My child has an alphabet soup of diagnoses, including autism spectrum and ADHD/OCD/Tourettes (aggravated by her trauma.) Fortunately for us, we had professionals who also recognized the RAD, PTSD,
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What’s in a Name? Part 3 – Misdiagnoses/Misunderstandings
By: Julie Beem My child has __________________ (pick one or several: Bipolar, ADHD, autism, ODD, anxiety, executive functioning problems). When parents of traumatized children turn to professionals for diagnoses and treatment, coming away with at RAD or Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis isn’t a sure thing. If I had a dollar for every time a parent told me, “but my child
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What’s in a Name? Part 2 – To Label or Not to Label
By: Julie Beem “You don’t want her labeled for life.” This sentence is usually spoken by your child’s grandparent (out of sheer concern for you and your family) or by a school official (who may be trying to block access to special education services). Either way, crossing the threshold into “labeling” your child is a difficult thing for many.
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This Ain’t My Mama’s Broken Heart
By: Gari Lister Four years ago today -- May 17, 2009 – my 17 year old daughter broke my heart and changed my life forever. She packed a bag, told her little sister not to tell us, and ran away from home with a boy she’d met a handful of times – a boy who murdered two people within a
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BMITW
By: Jane Samuel Last week I took our middle daughter out of town for four days to attend her close friend’s confirmation – in another country. Despite all her healing I still worried this trip would be too hard on our youngest – now ten-years-old and adopted at one. Luckily for her – and I – she was naïve as
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Mother’s Day – Batten Down The Hatches!
By: Julie Beem It’s nearly Mother’s Day. And thanks to retailers, schools, churches, we hear the message of “celebrating your mom” broadcasted from the rooftops. In a normal world, this would be a great thing. Motherhood is truly one of the highest callings. But what about children for whom their first relationship with a mother didn’t go well, didn’t last,
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Getting Their Ticket Punched
By: Marc Deprey I’m not sure this is some great revelation, but this idea came to me this morning and it put a lot into perspective for me. We all know as adults (or at least I hope we all do) that we can’t expect the world to fit to us, that we know down deep that we need to
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April 29, 2013 — Fourteen Years
By: Kathleen Benckendorf ATN is delighted to welcome Kathleen Benckendorf as a guest voice on Touching Trauma at its Heart. Kathleen, a parent member of ATN's Board of Directors, is a relentless researcher and seeker of answers. An engineer by education and experience, Kathleen has also trained as a bodyworker and in as many other therapeutic approaches and interventions as
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What’s in a Name? Part 1 – the Radish
By: Julie Beem The argument discussion rears its head every now and then, so I wasn’t surprised to see it come up again in an online group I belong to. Someone in the group took offense over others in the group referring to their children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) as “radishes” or “radlets”. Then others in the group took
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My Life May Not Be Perfect, But I’m Not Going to Complain About it Any More
By Gari Lister Too many mornings this spring I have found myself waking up and saying, “My back hurts, I have a headache, I’m tired.” And I can’t even count how often I have picked up the phone and vented about something big . . . or something small. My kids refuse to eat their supplements, my youngest throws a
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A Therapeutic Top Ten List: Why Therapists Should Incorporate Parents into Therapy Sessions
ATN is delighted to welcome Carol Lozier as a guest voice on Touching Trauma at its Heart. Carol, a member of ATN's Board of Directors, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky. Her website, www.forever-families.com, offers a blog, free downloadable tools for families, an excerpt of her book, and a supportive community of adoptive and foster
Read more.
Shake Off the Bad Mood
By Gari Lister This morning I started off my day with a cascade of nastiness from my usually reasonably-fun-to-be-around fifth grader. “I’m not going to eat those pills. Are you serious? Is that what we’re having for breakfast? Well, of course, we’re going to be late because of her .” First, I spent a moment thanking my yoga teacher for
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The Third World of Mental Health Care
By: Marc Deprey This Sunday, my daughter was given a new regime of meds to address her increased oppositional and violent behavior. Unfortunately, the wrong drug was written on her prescription and between that drug and all the other changes made she went into a severe manic episode. Over two days she just got worse and worse. By Monday night
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Grace . . . fully
By: Julie Beem When she looked at me, her eyes were filling with tears. She had just heard me say, and expound upon, the idea of reviewing your therapeutic parenting responses at the end of the day to see where you had done well and where things had not gone so well. “Just like professional athletes,” I advised, “we need
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Rules . . .
By: Gari Lister Experts advise that kids with developmental trauma need calm, stability and predictable limits. And in fact I know my youngest does better when she knows her schedule, and exactly what is expected of her. The problem is that peace, stability and a well-ordered life are not always easy to come by in a household filled with a
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The Manner of Goats
By: Marc Deprey I don’t know everything about goats, but I do work in land conservation and deal with landowners who face problems with invasive species of plants and livestock issues. What I do know is that goats are nature’s eliminator. They really do eat anything and everything.
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Hope Overcomes Heartbreak
By: Gari Lister My post last week was scary and sad for some of you, but please do not confuse heartbreak with a lack of hope. I have a huge amount of hope for our kids, and for the progress that we are making in helping them. For every child like my Katya, there are many, many more children who
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How Many Kids Do I Have? . . . Month Two as a Throw-Away Mom
By: Gari Lister Our oldest daughter, Katya, has been gone nearly two months. She packed the car with everything she could find, changed her phone number, blocked us on facebook, and disappeared into the urban Dallas wilds. In many ways, our life is back to normal, and I have adjusted to my new status. Only a few weeks ago, I
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Why Trauma Wouldn’t Let Me Attend the Trauma Conference
By: Marc Deprey Last Sunday, my son went into a rage so severe that he assaulted me and destroyed my car’s windows and body with head-sized boulders. He was arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall. It’s the first time I’ve ever been assaulted—by anyone, let alone my own child—and this is his first arrest. My daughter, who is also afflicted
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Are Dead Children the Benchmark for Adoption?
By: Julie Beem This whole Russian adoption ban issue is ridiculous! There, I said it. I suspect many of you were thinking it. A knee-jerk political reaction designed to make Americans in general, and American adoptive parents in particular, look like violent, evil monsters. The Russian government uses the deaths of 15 Russian-born adoptees as the fuel to stop thousands
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How Possible is the Impossible?
By: Nancy Spoolstra Last weekend I saw the movie The Impossible with my husband and very pregnant daughter. The movie is about a family of 5 that miraculously survives the Indian Ocean tsunami intact … no family member perished. Most families were not nearly so fortunate. The movie is all about relationships. I don’t think there was a dry eye
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A Swing and A Miss
By: Marc Deprey In my last entry, I listed a number of potential subjects to talk about on this blog and of course, I’ve decided not to talk about any of them today. I just want to talk about the heartbreak of never really being close to your kid.
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Why I hung up on my son
By: Nancy Spoolstra It has been nearly five years since I regularly blogged at adoptionblogs.com, and I have been excited to resume blogging, although on a less rigorous schedule. So it was surprising to me that I was struggling to get this first blog written. I think I wasn’t quite sure how or where to start. As many of you
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It Doesn’t Hurt to Laugh
By: Anna Paravano-Frise Ok, let’s face it: “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.” (Hershey’s) Kind of like that nutty guy on the ceiling in the movie “Mary Poppins” who sang, “I love to laugh!” I really do love to laugh! I love anything and anyone that makes me laugh. BC (Before Child), I really bought into the
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I’m Perfect…I’m a Failure
By: Julie Beem LuLu and I build gingerbread houses. We build them for the annual competition at her virtual school. She’s a serious competitor. Prior to the houses we built for the last competitions, I had absolutely no gingerbread house experience. It has been a trial by fire – and a lot of work! But the interesting thing is that
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Attachment — Barbie Style
By: Gari Lister Our attachment therapist a long time ago suggested that if my girls had a difficult time with my massaging and touching them, I could have them rub lotion on me. Well, I started out with lotion, but I have three girls so . . . the lotion turned into nail polish, and the nail polish turned into
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Where to begin?
By: Marc Deprey Father and SonWell, here it is, the moment I’ve been thinking about. How to start my contribution to ATN’s new blog? I could write about the experience of parenting two kids, eleven months apart with Developmental Trauma Disorder and the whole whack-a-mole nature of that day-to-day experience. I could write about the fact that I can only
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Maybe I can’t be 1st — but how do I get on the Waiting List?
By: Anna Paravano I’m going to be completely honest here. Whenever I go to a presentation, participate in a discussion group, or talk to a psych, and someone says, “Remember, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you put it on your child,” I just feel like decking them. In truth, my first thought is, “Do
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Never Let Them See You Sweat
By: Julie Beem Every Monday my daughter (let’s call her LuLu) goes to a social skills class. Most of the children are on the autism spectrum and that seems to work fine for her, even though I truly believe her developmental issues are trauma-related and not true autism (or at least not entirely autism-related). It’s a nice bit of downtime
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No, My Kids are Not Like Everyone Else’s
By: Gari Lister Mom and daughterUntil today, my first blog was going to be uplifting. I have three girls affected to varying degrees by their early trauma in orphanages in Russia and Ukraine, and things seemed to be going really well. We just finished a wonderful vacation with the two younger girls, and the third had returned home in October
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