Attachment Disorder-Complex Trauma in Early Childhood

A Two-Day Workshop

Children and youth who experience breaks in attachment can be found in birth families, kinship care families, adoptive families, guardian relationships or foster families: virtually any family in our society. With substance abuse continuing on the rise, with more single parents, due to choice or divorce, we see the United States being challenged with more violence in our schools, in our communities and in family units.

It is estimated that as many as 85% of children in the foster care system waiting permanency planning suffer from serious emotional/behavioral disorders. The Safe Families Act of 1997 required that family members of a child whose parent could no longer care for him/her be sought out in order to keep the youthís family ties.

Children are being misdiagnosed and mismedicated in schools and mental health systems. Brain research now emphasizes the critical importance of attachment for healthy personality development in children. The life long impact on children suffering from breaks in attachment due to early childhood traumas and on society as a whole are staggering, both in terms of loss of childhood, loss of productivity and the costs associated with providing treatment to those affected.

The workshop is a must for service providers or education system professionals working with children and youth. If you are a family struggling to understand why you are not making headway with a displaced child (who has come into your home from another family of origin) this workshop is for you. If you are one of those professionals who is frustrated with traditional interventions, then you must attend this workshop.

 

PART I SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ATTACHMENT DISORDER

The half-day workshop will cover a History of Attachment Theory and will define reactive attachment disorder and attachment disorder. Why and how children come out of their home of origin and into other birth family units, kinship care families, adoptive families, guardian and/or foster relationships will be discussed. Many of the disruptions for these children are caused by parentís additions to drugs and/or alcohol. Learning about attachment and the cycle of need that a child innately has and how that cycle can be broken by substance abuse, neglect and/or abuse, chronic illness, abandonment, separation from birth parents, maternal depression or frequent moves and placements will be covered. A group exercise will help individuals understand how desperate this population of children is to survive. Understanding why attachment is important will be taught as well as discussion of the continuum of attachment for this population of youth. The instructor will discuss risk factors; provide a list of signs and symptoms in early childhood and warning signs in infancy. Lastly, the participants will review all those who might be involved with this childís life over a period of the childís childhood or adolescence.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify some of the signs and symptoms that might alert a family or professional of possible attachment issues for the youth
  2. Learn the importance of maternal child care for the reduction of violence in our communities
  3. Identify service providers who may come into contact with individuals who are experiencing attachment challenges
  4. Identify risk factors for loss of attachment for children such as drug and alcohol abuse/addictions by parents

 

PART II ASSESSMENT & TREATMENT

The half-day session will cover differential diagnosis for children and youth. Three pillars of a comprehensive assessment will be learned: early childhood history (birth mothers mental health, substance abuse and physical care of herself and child from birth to 2 years old), historical and current signs and symptoms (behaviors) and review of past and current relationship patterns (how has and does the child relate to others). Several short videos will be presented in order for individuals to understand the extreme behaviors of this population of children. The instructor will provide three most often used tools for assessment of this population of youth. The participants will learn what the attachment treatment is and what they believe about children/youth and families. There will be information provided on what the family needs to supervise/address as a unit and why training for the family will be essential. Distinguishing between the roles of the parent (caregiver) and the professional and why skill development for both will be taught. Learning what the standards of practice are for professionals in this field will be reviewed and what multi-faceted treatment modalities are most often successful. The group will have the opportunity to meet each other and learn the reasons individuals are interested in this topic.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Learn the three pillars of comprehensive assessment and assessment tools currently available: applying the learning objectives 1-4, Part I
  2. Learn what the attachment field is and why it developed
  3. Understand the importance of role distinguishing for the professional
  4. Learn the standards of practice in the field of attachment

 

PART III BRAIN TRAUMA

Families and Clinicians Providing Attachment & Bonding Success During the half-day workshop lecture and discussion, the participants will learn how the limbic system develops and what it does. The group will understand the amygdale, hippocampus and how brain development or brain injury can affect these areas. The works of Dr. Dan Amen will be taught and a short section of video will be reviewed of how maternal care, depression, and substance abuse affects the brain. Other trauma specialists from throughout the U.S. will be discussed. The instructor will cover why cognitive therapy doesnít work with this population as well as what types of families work best with the child/youth. The session will end by providing information on what to look for and what to expect from an attachment therapist. The participants will be provided small group discussions on how the information may fold into the work they provide.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide a beginning understanding of what knowledge is available in brain research and how it affects this population
  2. Learn why attachment therapists work with multi-faceted modalities in order to penetrate the hard wired brain
  3. Understand how to refer clients in order to provide successful bonding to the current family

 

PART IV CREATING A SYSTEM OF CARE

For Youth Who Experience an Attachment Disorder The half-day session will provide an understanding of how to create a learning environment for all. The instructor will teach how stakeholders are defined. The group will discuss who are the persons involved in creating systems work in our state and in their local community: substance abuse, juvenile justice, Office of Childrenís Services, etc. Participants will learn why bringing extended family members and volunteers (natural supports) onto the team are imperative. Clarifying who does what on the team of professionals and volunteers and how to interview for support will be learned. Why and how team meetings should be developed will be covered. Teaching what the federal government wants from us on outcome based treatment plans that have obtainable goals will be taught. Individuals will participate in several small group team meetings to provide practice on developing independence for the family.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the importance of teaching families what capabilities you, the professional, possess and where they can secure services you are unable to provide
  2. Learn how to begin developing a healthy system of care for the attachment disordered population
  3. Learn what can be done to support families without developing dependency

 

OUTLINE OF EACH DAY

 7.5 CEUís per day (or15 CEUís for the two days)

Registration/Breakfast

8:00 a.m.

8:45 a.m.

Welcome & Housekeeping

8:45 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

Presentation

9:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

BREAK

11:00 a.m.

11:15 a.m.

Presentation/Evaluations

11:15 a.m.

1:15 p.m.

LUNCH

1:15 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

Presentation

2:00 p.m.

3:45 p.m.

BREAK

3:45 p.m.

4:00 p.m.

Presentation/Evaluations

4:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m.