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Caregivers - Children We Work With

We provide caregivers with the following services for children  experiencing trauma, attachment, or behavioral / emotional issues:


What is Trauma?

People often use the word “trauma” to refer to a traumatic event. A trauma is a scary, dangerous, or violent event that can happen to anyone. Not all dangerous or scary events are traumatic events, however.

What Is a Traumatic Event?

A traumatic event is a scary, dangerous, or violent event. An event can be traumatic when we face or witness an immediate threat to ourselves or to a loved one, often followed by serious injury or harm. We feel terror, helplessness, or horror at what we are experiencing and at our inability to stop it or protect ourselves or others from it.

Often, people feel bad after a trauma. Even though we try hard to keep children safe, dangerous events still happen. This danger can come from outside of the family, for example in the form of a natural disaster, car accident, school shooting, or community violence. It can also come from within the family, examples including serious injury, domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, or the unexpected death of a loved one.

Types of Trauma

  • Community Violence
  • Complex Trauma
  • Domestic Violence
  • Early Childhood Trauma
  • Medical Trauma
  • Natural Disasters
  • Neglect
  • Physical Abuse
  • Refugee and War Zone Trauma
  • School Violence
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Terrorism
  • Traumatic Grief

Signs / Symptoms of Trauma

What are the signs that a child may be experiencing child traumatic stress?

The signs of traumatic stress vary from child to child, with a notable difference in the reactions of young children versus those of older children. Some characteristic behaviors and feelings of a child who is experiencing traumatic stress are outlined below.

Preschool Children

  • Feel helpless and uncertain
  • Fear separation from their parent / caregiver
  • Cry and / or scream a lot
  • Eat poorly and lose weight
  • Return to bedwetting
  • Return to using baby talk
  • Develop new fears
  • Have nightmares
  • Recreate the trauma through play
  • Are not developing to the next growth stage
  • Have changes in behavior
  • Ask questions about death

Elementary School Children

  • Become anxious and fearful
  • Worry about their own or others' safety
  • Become clingy with a teacher or parent
  • Feel guilt or shame
  • Tell others about the traumatic event again and again
  • Become upset if they get a small bump or bruise
  • Have a hard time concentrating
  • Experience numbness
  • Have fears that the event will happen again
  • Have difficulty sleeping
  • Show changes in school performance
  • Become easily startled

Middle and High School Children

  • Feel depressed and alone
  • Discuss the traumatic events in detail
  • Develop eating disorders and self-harming behaviors such as cutting
  • Start using or abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Become sexually active
  • Feel like they're going crazy
  • Feel different from everyone else
  • Take too many risks
  • Have sleep disturbances
  • Don’t want to go to places that remind them of the event
  • Say they have no feelings about the event
  • Show changes in behavior

Information taken from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network website


What is Attachment?

Attachment most often refers to the bond a child has to their caregiver. Children need to develop a relationship with at least one caregiver for successful social and emotional development, particularly for learning how to effectively regulate their feelings. If a child has a sensitive and responsive caregiver, they’ll feel safe and free to grow and explore the world around them.

Types of Attachment

There are four different types of attachment in children:

  1. Secure attachment
  2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment
  3. Anxious-avoidant attachment
  4. Disorganized attachment

Signs / Symptoms of Attachment Issues

Children without a secure attachment to a caregiver may demonstrate some of the following symptoms. This list is not exhaustive, but is a starting guide and will vary based on the age of the child:

  • Has trouble forming or maintaining relationships
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Doesn’t smile
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up
  • Rejects caregiver efforts to calm, soothe, and connect
  • Doesn’t seem to notice or care when left alone
  • Cries inconsolably
  • Doesn’t coo or make sounds
  • Doesn’t follow caregiver with his or her eyes
  • Isn’t interested in playing interactive games or playing with toys
  • Spends a lot of time rocking or comforting themselves


Behavioral / emotional health is gauged by the day-to-day behaviors and emotions of a child. These will change over time, during different developmental stages, or as a direct result of external changes in a child’s life. In general, we want our children to have stable, wide-ranging, and age-appropriate behaviors and emotions. More importantly, caregivers need to know how to react appropriately to changes in the behaviors and emotions of their child.