By Joanna Nicholson, MA, RCC As we continue to engage in social distancing and self-isolation, many of our roles and responsibilities have changed due to the COVID-19 virus. Parents, foster parents, and caregivers will have to support their children’s learning from home while balancing other responsibilities and changes. Children are also experiencing change as they have not returned to school following spring break, daily routine has shifted, and social groups are fairly non existent. With no clear timeline on when …

One Foster Boy’s Untold Story and the Family that Showed him Immense Love & Acceptance By Caroline Bailey, MC, Foster Parent Extraordinaire *printed with permission* Tonight, after 2.5 years of living here, my oldest son sat down at the table with this. He was about to chow down when I stopped him and asked what in the world he was doing. He said, “I made myself dinner.” “But it isn’t cooked. I can cook that you know.” “Well, I wanted …

The ’12 Days’ of Christmas Calm by Nicole Fakaua, M.C., RCC, CCI Coach   With the holiday season in full swing, and the ballot of the 12 days of Christmas barreling in the background, it’s so easy to get caught up in the crazy Christmas chaos that can take over our lives. As wonderful a time of the year as Christmas is, it can also equate to a whole lot of stress. Now for youth with a background of complex …

Summer, Sunshine, and Stress by Nicole Fakaua, M.C., R.C.C. Summer holidays usually conjure up images of sunshine, sweet watermelon, and happy kids playing along the beach.   But let’s face it, for many kids with a trauma background, summer holidays can also be stressful!  Normal routines have been bypassed by longer, leisurely days filled with a degree of flexibility and unpredictability on many fronts.  Though enjoyable, this can be particularly challenging for kiddos with a history of trauma.  As a result, …

Acceptance, Belonging, and Contribution – Keys to a Child’s Identity by Dr. Kirk Austin It is not much to look at- just a small bud rising out of the soil. But this bud represents a billion-dollar industry world wide. It is a humble Chinese bamboo shoot. Globally, the plant is eaten for food, converted into paper, fashioned into furniture and manufactured into hard wood flooring. Its versatility seems endless. The farmers who tend the bamboo crop care for it for …

No One Eats Apples in Baja, California It’s a small town by Canadian Standards. The population is only approximately five thousand people. This makes it the size of Nelson, BC or Flin Flon, Manitoba. What makes this town unique is that one third of this population is under the age of 14. The town is Primo Tapia, located along the Baja California, an hour South of Tijuana, Mexico. What makes this town even more exceptional is that the number of …

Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, and in the midst of the hype it can sometimes be challenging to understand just what it is and how it can be used to make a practical difference. When caring for children and youth who come from backgrounds of complex trauma and exhibit behaviors that are perplexing, troubling, shocking, and hurtful, carers can be pushed to their limits hundreds of times a day. Mindfulness is a skill that …

The Psychological, Emotional, and Neurological Struggles for Youth with Insecure Attachment by Nicole Fakaua, M.C., R.C.C. Carlos, a 14-year-old middle school youth, just can’t seem to get ahead in his classes.  He has a hard time focusing on his assignments, his head often feels heavy, he just can’t seem to make sense of the work, or calm an anxiousness that is always with him.  He often eats lunch alone and doesn’t feel connected to any one person or group at …

Data Collection and Connecting Meaningful Interventions to the IEP Miss Peters knew that Jimmy had made some progress in the classroom because his shut downs and aggressive behaviours weren’t as severe as before.  Within the first three months of the new school year, she learned that Jimmy had experienced complex trauma from the time he was born to about 4 years of age, she learned about how complex trauma can affect children in the classroom, and she implemented numerous PEACE-ful …

Interventions to Help Traumatized Children Succeed in Education by Angela Murphy, School Psychologist, BCASP #370, MEd., BEd. Miss Peters was overwhelmed; she had a student, “Jimmy”, who was making it very difficult for her to teach and for others to learn.  She described Jimmy as having extreme behaviours (i.e. verbally and physically aggressive, running away, shutting down sometimes for hours at a time) that seemed to appear out of the nowhere, “one moment he seems fine and within a split …