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Trauma Informed Care

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

Earlier this month, research scientist, writer and teacher, Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, visited Mill of Mains School in Dundee, Scotland. She looked at their approach to trauma-informed education for their students and noted some of the successful techniques and methods they were using.

Whilst many of these factors were looked at from an educational perspective, foster carers and parents can reflect some of these approaches at home to offer some therapeutic relief for children who may have had experience with trauma. Based on Dr. Zeedyk's thread, we've looked at some of the great things the Mill of Mains school are doing to help children feel comfortable and positive.

Trauma Informed Childcare Illustration

Getting Together

Involvement with a group of people with shared experiences can offer support for both children and foster carers. Such things as support groups, local community gatherings or even getting together as a family are great ways to make happy memories and improve communication. For looked after children, getting together to talk through their questions, especially in a new placement, is a great way to address any concerns they might have. At Red Kite, we arrange monthly support groups and use a buddying system to help carers communicate, learn and find support amongst each other.

Picture Cards

Many children find it useful to have the option to communicate through images. This may be pointing at characters to express how they're feeling, arranging action cards to express what they want to do or using pages from a picture book to show what they're thinking.

Toys and Teddies

It is well known that teddy bears can be a source of comfort for children and adults! Some children might find it easier to express themselves through toys and teddies, talking through them or simply talking to them. Carrying a teddy might also help some children approach situations that may make them nervous, like on their first day of school or during the beginning of a new placement.

Lots of emergency services carry 'trauma teddies' to offer children comfort during the stress of an emergency situation.

Writing Anywhere - within reason!

Writing doesn't have to be in books! Putting post-it notes on pictures, drawing on whiteboards, writing on the patio with chalk and making wall murals are all options to explore and get creative with.

Worry Monster

Another fantastic resource the Mill of Mains school use is a worry monster. Students write notes and feed them to the monster or they choose to talk to him. It can be a great way for children to write their worries down and zip them away.

It's also a great way for parents, teachers and carers to understand and talk through the problems a young person may be dealing with if they're not yet ready to approach an adult about it.

Calm Spaces

Children's Reading Tent
Quiet Tent Idea

Building forts out of pillows and cardboard boxes is a key childhood memory for many of us, but they can be used for more than defending the castle! It is quite common nowadays to see small tents in living rooms decorated with fairy lights and teddies. These spaces can be used as 'quiet spaces' for children who need a moment to themself to read or just relax in a calming environment if things get too much. Aim to keep these spaces cosy and free of noise or excitement.

If you have any methods or ideas of your own, please share them with us! A community of people who are willing to understand trauma creates a great network of support for young people and their foster carers.

Suzanne Zeedyk's website also offers further information and resources about her work and child development.

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