Major advances in brain research show us the effects of early attachment trauma on brain development and enable us to expand our awareness of these adverse experiences. We might consider that the effects of early childhood trauma are more severe because of the developmental periods and the impact on the developing brain. Research on the consequences of early traumatic events helps us to define new criteria for attachment trauma and offers us directions for early identification and enables a more accurate treatment. By raising awareness among both caregivers and clinicians about attachment trauma, prevention strategies and tailor-made treatment might increase and create new therapeutic opportunities.
Teams Around a Child Trauma Informed Care (TACTIC) is a program designed to support teams involved in the lives of young people who may have experienced developmental trauma and who have attachment challenges.
The adage – “It takes a village to raise a child, still rings true today. No one person can do it alone. However, we need to create villages, in the hustle and bustle of our inner-cities, and understand the complex challenges experienced by our young people.”
TACTIC is an opportunity for ‘teams around a child’ to spend two days together gaining joint understanding and developing plans for their young person.
The program includes evidence based information on:
- Neurological processes
This is not ‘just another PD’ session. It is an opportunity for individual experiences to be recognised and linked with theory to design a collaborative plan and afford each team member an opportunity for joint understanding. Through the process, the team develops and discusses next steps and designs a collaborative plan around the young person. This can then be reviewed and discussed with the young person concerned prior to implementation.
Information For Parents
Parents/caregivers are an integral part of the program. Family life as well as preferences and interests are vital to support effective goals for the young people.
The program is run by a psychologist and clinical director, who have experience working with young people with adverse life conditions. The program is structured to support parents in sharing their knowledge and experience of their child to help team members understand what is most effective for their child.
What will parents get from attending this course?
- A supportive, non-judgmental environment
- Feeling like they’re not on their own
- Sharing their expert knowledge and experience with other team members
- Building capacity and competence within the team
- Knowledge and strategies to help their child to be more engaged and participate
- Building on the child’s skills and strength
Information for Schools
Most schools have behaviour management systems that support majority of the students in class. What happens when these ideas don’t seem to be working? When tried and trusted methods meet with little success in our efforts to ‘manage’ some pupils’ behaviour, we can end up feeling very de-motivated and defeated. These are often the young people who have suffered trauma, loss, neglect, abuse and violence. They may seem unresponsive or unpredictable in their responses to teaching. Teachers can find themselves feeling frustrated at the lack of success and continual battles with the young person. Teachers find themselves thinking: “There’s absolutely nothing more I can do to help X, nothing I am trying is working, no-one can teach him and he is stopping others from learning, and making the classroom unsafe. We can’t keep him in this school. I want to get on with teaching those who want to learn.” Even if the teacher does not harbour such feelings about X, the teacher can still feel at a loss about how to manage X in the class. Understandable as both these reactions may be, the result is the same. Children who have spent their life feeling rejected ‘float around’ the education system. The point is that we need to find ways to make our jobs easier and not more difficult. We are often left with a sense of weary dissatisfaction and uneasiness with a child’s disengagement from school. It’s about putting our energy in the right direction. It’s not just about being competent in behaviour management, but by changing our ways of thinking a bit, that makes teaching easier and not a constant battle! Working with the team around the child allows for joint understanding and shared knowledge of what works.
Two days may seem a long time concentrating on one child. However, this theory to practice approach is one that teachers will transfer to all their teaching and the benefits will be available for all students both now and in the future. Schools can send the class teacher, or all the staff who work regularly with the young person (such as teacher aides, SENCO, etc).
Why schools should be involved in this process?
- School is the place where children learn most about relationships and themselves in relation to others
- These children’s thinking can create ‘attacks on thinking’, leaving us unable to think creatively about solutions, leading to
frustration and blaming
- Teachers have many pressures in today’s classrooms and dealing with severe behaviour can become exhausting and leave teachers feeling dis-empowered
- This approach does not take extra time, it requires a shift in thinking
- We all need to learn from other agencies and professionals
Information for Specialists/Key Workers
The team around the child requires evidence-based knowledge to work effectively with young people who have complex trauma and attachment challenges. It is almost impossible to do this alone. If the team around the child attends this program, a shared understanding will become evident — leading to more effective strategies and a better outcome for the young person. Resulting in the practical application of new learning and development/strengthening of the child’s educational plan.