Written by Traci Patterson
So many children and youth are innocent victims of trauma. Some are born with severe or debilitating health concerns, while others may live in environments where they have witnessed or experienced sexual assault, child maltreatment, neglect, violence in their family, community or school, illness or death in the family, natural disasters and even war.
Trauma can impact children of any age both physically and psychologically. Occupational therapy practitioners must be aware of the impact of trauma and attachment disorders and must work to continue to enrich the scope of occupational therapy services to meet the needs of the populations served.
If left untreated or improperly treated the effects of trauma increases a child’s risk for physical and mental health issues, impacts their social and emotional development, decreases their academic success, lessens their ability to form healthy relationships which includes bonding with parents.
The Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh) educates and trains parents as well as professionals in fields such as occupational therapy, education, mental health, child welfare, faith/ministry and others in pediatrics and family care who treat and help children cope, manage and most of all, heal from the debilitating effects of trauma.
Recognizing the unique ability and strengths of occupational therapists, ATTACh along with some of the leading national and internationally recognized expert researchers, instructors and practitioners have created a 3-level, multi-series training with courses to expressly prepare and expand the knowledge base of U.S. and international occupational therapists as they address the troubling and difficult to heal behaviors of children and youth living with trauma and attachment disorders.
These curriculum developers include an esteemed team of occupational therapists including Maude Le Roux, OTR/L, SIPT, DIR, Lara Taggart, Ed.D., OTR/L, JoAnn Kennedy, OTD, MS, OTR/L, Tina Champagne, OT, OTD, FAOTA, Sarah Gayle Schoenbaum, MA/OTR, Sanette Louwrens, OTR/L, Kimberly Barthel, OT, Teresa A. May-Benson, Sc.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Sheila M. Frick, OTR, Éadaoin Bhreathnach, OT, Pamela Meredith, OT and Shelley Mannell, PT.
Trainings that are currently available include Level 1: Attachment and Trauma-Focused Training Series and Level 2: Occupational Therapy Assessment for Attachment and Trauma Training Series. Level 3 is scheduled to launch during the Summer of 2022.
At this time, ATTACh is only able to refer ONE out of every FIVE requests from families in need of a trauma and attachment-trained professional. More occupational therapists who specialize in providing care to children and youth of every age are needed across the U.S. and globally.
“Our goal is to increase our capacity to inform, educate and train professionals whose expertise is vital to the care and treatment of some of our most ill and vulnerable children,” said Mary McGowan, ATTACh Executive Director. “When professionals are trained by ATTACh and leading industry experts, we are able to confidently help connect and refer children and families to trained professionals who can help.”
In addition to specialty trainings throughout the year, ATTACh hosts an annual conference that includes a track dedicated entirely to Occupational Therapy. The 34th Annual Childhood Trauma and Attachment Conference, Catch the Wave of Hope and Healing, is scheduled for Thursday, September 29 – Saturday, October 1, 2022, in Anaheim, California.
Learn more about:
ATTACh - https://attach.org/
Upcoming Occupational Therapy Trainings (Level 1 and Level 2) - Details and Registration https://attach.org/training/
34th Annual Childhood Trauma and Attachment Conference - https://attach.org/2022-conference/
ATTACh Membership - https://attach.org/membership/