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Ask the Expert: Mental health and trauma in children

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Britta West is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Clinical Traumatologist located in Burnaby, BC. She completed her Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University in 2009. In 2012, Britta completed the Clinical Traumatologist specialization from the Traumatology Institute. Her areas of expertise include attachment, trauma, mental health and behavioural health diagnoses and parenting. Britta provides therapeutic interventions to address these issues in the context of the family system.

The truth about confabulation

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Is it lying? No, it’s confabulation and there’s a big difference!

Time and time again we hear from adoptive parents that one of the hardest behaviours to take is children lying to them. They experience the lie as a personal affront, a show of disrespect, and a harbinger of anti-social behaviour to come. There are many reasons why adopted children may lie, ranging from the fight or flight reflex, fear of rejection or punishment, to delayed development. It is not uncommon, nor is it usually something to be alarmed about.

Birth dad let our daughter down

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Openness doesn't always go smoothly--especially when a child was appreehended because of abuse or neglect.

Openness between the birth and adoptive parents of children who were in foster care because of neglect or abuse has become the norm. This sort of openness relationship can be very different to that between adoptive parents and healthy birth parents who made adoption plans for their children.

Helping children make sense of a painful birth history

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

1. Be proactive—use the "A" word from the moment your child comes home, even if he or she is pre-verbal. Seek opportunities to talk about adoption—movies, books, other families connected to adoption, and your child’s own adoption story at an age-appropriate level.

2. Connect the positive qualities in your child with their birth parents—even if you know nothing about them; for example, "I wonder if your birthmom/birthdad has your beautiful voice."

Tending troubled transplants

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

How to handle the tough job of parenting a child who has never experienced proper parenting.

When Ethan’s foster mom, Julie, found a knife under his pillow she was extremely alarmed and immediately put in an urgent call to his caseworker

The reason 10-year-old Ethan went to bed accompanied by a knife, rather than a teddy bear, was because he’d lived in a birth family where drug deals, violence, and abuse were the order of the day. Ethan hadn’t been able to rely on his parents to protect him, so he had learned to protect himself.

Neurofeedback helped my internationally adopted child

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

At the point when Cassandra Blake and her husband Mike first heard about Neurofeedback, they were desperate to try anything new to help Annie, their 10-year-old internationally adopted child.

When they first met Annie, there were early signs that she had experienced neglect. At almost a year of age, she weighed less than 14 pounds and she couldn’t sit up or roll over. However, within a year or two of living in Canada, she caught up on growth and developmental milestones.    

The language of hurt kids

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Psychologists have given us a concept of non-verbal communication that makes an incredible amount of sense in the context of adoption—it is called inducement.

Those of us who live or work with adopted children need to understand that inducement is the language of the abandoned. Inducement is the most important conceptual tool we have to understand why children act the way they do.

The Basics on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Source: 
Special Needs Database

All children and adolescents experience stressful events which can affect them both emotionally and physically. Their reactions to stress are usually brief, and they recover without further problems. A child or adolescent who experiences a catastrophic event, or events that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, may develop ongoing difficulties known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The stressful or traumatic event involves a situation in which someone’s life has been threatened or severe injury has occurred.

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