Can We Teach These Kids Dance? Impact of Trauma and Attachment Disruptions on Learning & Behavior

  • Plymouth Church 87 Edgell Road Framingham, MA, 01701 United States

Presenter: Kevin Creeden, M.A., LMHC is the Director of Assessment and Research at the Whitney Academy in East Freetown, MA.

Description: Children and adolescents with histories of trauma and attachment difficulties often present as the most challenging cases within the social service, mental health, and educational systems.  Many of these youth have problems effectively meeting the demands of their daily lives, which can result in creating crisis in their homes, failure in their classrooms and disruptions in the community.  Frequently, service providers and educators try to address the symptoms and behavioral issues these youth present without a context for understanding the kind of obstacles and triggers the child may be struggling with.

Research has shown a connection between early trauma experiences, attachment difficulties and disrupted neurological development in children.  The effect of these early developmental experiences can have a significant impact on specific brain functions such as emotional and behavioral regulation, language processing, and adaptive decision making. Given that many of the youth that we treat come from backgrounds with histories of abuse, neglect, and/or family dysfunction; this research is particularly pertinent to how we understand and intervene in our client’s behavior

This training looks at the connections between dysfunctional histories and problematic behavior by examining what we know about the neurological impact of early trauma and insecure attachment relationships on children and adolescents. We will present a treatment approach which seeks to integrate the brain based research on trauma and attachment and our understanding of “healthy” childhood development with an emphasis placed on interventions that help the child achieve developmental progress rather than those that “solely” look to find a means for stopping negative behavior.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this training, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the neuro-developmental impact of early trauma and insecure attachment difficulties
  • Identify the connection between the neurological difficulties precipitated by trauma and the behavioral and learning difficulties with which our clients present
  • Use interventions supported by the neuro-developmental research that seek to lay a foundation for improved attachment relationships and greater capacities at emotional and behavioral regulation.

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