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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 expertize 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.

Love me, feed me: part one

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Feeding and attachment

The attachment cycle is fulfilled by meeting a child’s physical and emotional needs—feeling hunger, needing attention, being wet or cold—over and over again. Feeding is one of the most reliable and obvious opportunities to help a child feel safe and cared for, and to build trust, whether you have brought home an infant or an older child.

Ask the Expert: Jan Radford

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Jan Radford is a Registered Nurse with over 30 years experience working with children as a clinician, administrator, researcher and educator. She worked with substance exposed infants and children for many years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In her recent “semi retirement” she has returned to the Downtown Eastside to continue working with mothers and children whose lives are impacted by violence, substance misuse, mental illness and poverty.

Navigating anxiety

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I have always been anxious.

I didn’t recognize it until my mid 30s, when I went through full-blown, severe anxiety and depression. After months of hell, I saw the pain as the message it was: “you need to change.”

Adopting the positive: HIV/AIDS and international adoption

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Across North America, a new kind of special needs adoption is on the rise: the international adoption of children living with HIV.

As recently as a decade ago, stigma, fear, and strict immigration policies meant adopting a child with HIV wasn’t even an option. Now, through increased awareness, advocacy and education have led more and more families to consider this possibility. In British Columbia in the past two years, two families have completed the first international adoptions of children known to be HIV+.

Fostercare and the stigma of mental illness

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I’ve certainly benefitted from the care of some very supportive foster parents over the years, since my placement in goverment care at the age of 15. My need for care was determined by the presence of serious mental illness in the family. My beautiful and brilliant mother was a professor of linguistics at the University of Victoria, when she experienced the onset of schizophrenia. It certainly doesn’t discriminate. All of the degrees, merits and accomplishments did not matter, in the slow decline of her beautiful mind.

Circles of relationship: Teaching social distance

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

In part one (see: Boundaries: Keeping families safe), we talked about the need to make our expectations for behaviours explicit to children who are new to our families. We also discussed how some children, especially those from foster or institutional care, may have had multiple caregivers, all or some of whom may have been relative strangers. It is not surprising that such children may seek affection indiscriminately from adults or children they have just met.

Lice

Source: 
AFABC Special Needs Database

Definition
Lice (plural) or louse (singular) are tiny parasitic insects. There are three different kinds, head lice, body lice, and pubic lice. They exist on the surface of the skin clinging to hair strands or fibres. Lice, like mosquitoes, often carry diseases and can transmit them to the host’s body.

Juvenile Diabetes

Source: 
AFABC Special Needs Database

Definition
Diabetes is a long-life disease marked by elevated levels of sugar in the blood. It can be caused by too little insulin (a chemical produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar), resistance to insulin, or both. There are three major types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes: is usually diagnosed in childhood. The body makes little or no insulin, and daily injections of insulin are required to sustain life. Without proper daily management, medical emergencies can arise.

Intestinal parasites

Source: 
AFABC Special Needs Database

Definition
A parasitic infection of the intestinal area in which the invading parasite lives in and survives off the host’s body. The parasite will take what it needs with no regard to the host, which results in illness or at least discomfort for most people.   

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