For children who have experienced trauma, learning can be a big struggle. Here’s how to help them.
With grief, sadness is obvious. With trauma, the symptoms can go largely unrecognized because it shows up looking like other problems: frustration, acting out, or difficulty concentrating, following directions or working in a group. Often students are misdiagnosed with anxiety, behavior disorders or attention disorders, rather than understanding the trauma that’s driving those symptoms and reactions.
In our summer issue, we explored how difficult but important it is to share our not-so-perfect moments. In this piece, Caroline shares one of hers. We hope it encourages you.
“Mom, when did Mamoo see me for the first time?” My child asked this question completely out of the blue. (By the way, Mamoo is my mom.)
I turned to my child and explained that Mamoo came the very next day after my child arrived at our home.
“Did she hold me like this? How did I act to her? Show me how I was held.”
Every adoptive family needs health providers who understand the unique circumstances and health implications of their child’s beginnings. This pull-out guide was produced for an American audience, but the information applies well to Canada too. Cut it out or copy it to share with your healthcare team!
For more than 25 years, Catherine has worked in and with the adoption community as a therapist, an adoptee, and an adoptive mom, always searching for a truly effective approach to adoption therapy. In this article, she explains an approach that she's found to be highly effective for issues related to adoption trauma.
Storytelling can help your child receive a more accurate assessment
Nicole Gfeller is a counsellor, an art therapist, and an adoptee. For as long as she can remember, she struggled with an overactive nervous system. She’s not alone: regulating the nervous system is a major challenge for many adoptees. In this article, she helps adoptees understand this challenge so they can develop healthy, fulfilling, and happy lives.
Catherine is the co-founder of the non-profit organization We Are Adopted/Adoptees Association. In this article she draws on her personal experience as an adoptee and an adoptive mother as well as her professional experience as a registered clinical counsellor to explain why shame and adoption are so intertwined.
This article was originally published on the Adoption Council of Ontario’s blog for Bell Let’s Talk day (a social media campaign that encourages Canadians to talk openly about mental health). We were inspired by Kathy’s insight into the connection between early trauma and mental illness in adoptees, and by her ideas on how to help hurt kids heal.