A course review by Sarah from The Puffin Diaries
I was recently invited to attend an Attachment and Trauma Workshop run by Inspired Foundations. Based in the Midlands, Inspired Foundations “was established with the aim of providing services to parents and professionals who live or work with children who are looked-after or adopted, as well as those considered in-need or vulnerable.”
The course I attended was aimed at those working with children who struggle with attachment and early life trauma, and most of those in attendance, on this course, were teachers or staff working with schools. Jennifer Jones, the founder of Inspired foundations delivered the workshop which lasted for three hours, half a day.
The course started with an introduction to a child’s journey through care. At first my thoughts were that this seemed like something very obvious that others would know and understand. However, it dawned on me that I take for granted this knowledge and it actually made very good sense to explain this process. It introduced the attendees to the many different environments a child can be moved between, whilst in care and before adoption.
Jennifer then gave a clear and comprehensive description of the meaning of trauma and how this can affect a child.
I was impressed with the level of detail she delivered on the workings of the brain, enough for people to grasp a good understanding but not at a level that became complicated. I have read and heard this information a number of times and still found this explanation to be beneficial and useful. It’s always good to come away with new facts as well, and I did. I was unaware before that the frontal cortex of the brain cannot actual work at the same time as the reptilian part of the brain. Images of brain scans revealing the difference in growth and stimulation between a normal and neglected child, also created a notable impact.
Next we were then introduced to “What is Attachment?” By using diagrams of a healthy attachment cycle and a disrupted attachment cycle, along with a clear description, Jenifer made this very easy to understand. This lead to a discussion on what a child requires for a healthy attachment, and the first of a couple of interactive group activities.
Three groups were asked to consider the needs of a child of a certain age, and write them down on cards. These cards were then used to demonstrate the building blocks of a child’s life with a healthy attachment , placed on a board, side by side, they represent a firm foundations. Jennifer then removed some of the words and the cracks and holes in a neglected child’s foundations were excellently demonstrated. I thought this visual aid was extremely effective.
This was the first of a couple of interactive activities we completed, all of which I felt were excellent aids to the points that Jennifer was trying to convey.
I also particularly like the example she used to help people understand how a child must feel about being removed from their birth family. She asked us all to imagine that we were offered a better life to the one we currently had, larger house, more money, compliant children and adoring partners. Then she said we could only take this better life if we accepted that we could never return to, or see people from, our existing life ever again. I thought this analogy was really powerful.
She then went on to discuss the types of behaviours that children may display in school, explaining the symptoms of insecure attachment. Again a lot of this information I already knew but it was very helpful to hear it again and also helped to understand how it might present in an educational environment. The final part of the course went on to propose strategies to support these children within school.
All the suggestions that Jennifer gave were simple and well considered. What I really liked, and I think was most appreciated by those in attendance, was that none of the ideas required a large amount of resources to be allocated to them.
Suggestions even on how to alter the language used when communicating with a child could make such a great difference to their schooling experience.
On the whole I found this course to be an excellent, comprehensive and authoritative introduction to working with child with developmental trauma and attachment issues. Jennifer delivered it with an obvious wealth of knowledge and understanding, but also a sensitivity which I feel is born from her own experiences as an adoptive parent. I spoke to a number of the attendees, all of whom had found the course very informative and helpful. My only regret is that more schools don’t see the value in allowing their staff to participate in such training.
Inspired Foundations also does workshops for parents and carers at very reasonable prices, find out more here. They also provide on site training and act as consultants to professional organisations. In conjunction with this article our readers have been offered a special discount when booking a course, see below.
Inspired Foundations are offering a 20% discount on their Attachment and Trauma workshops to parents, carers and professionals working with children. This offer can be used in conjunction with other offers or discounts. This discount does not apply to on-site/inset training bookings. Discount code is valid for workshops taking place before 31st December 2014. To gain this discount simply quote the code: ADOPTIONSOCIAL2014 when making your booking.
Disclaimer: Sarah attended this training course for free, however this review is honest and her own opinion.