The children that I work with mostly have difficulties with Attachment due to: “Developmental Trauma which can come out of a result of having experienced or witnessed, amongst other things, physical abuse, severe neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence, multiple placement moves, emotional abuse, deprivation…. All within the child’s close, early relationships with parents and carers in their homes”. (Louise Michelle Bomber, What about me? p.5)
Before I started working in this role I worked in a primary school as a Teaching cover supervisor, I mostly worked with Year one pupils covering the class when the teacher was unavailable and assisting the teacher at other times. I had worked with children who had a diagnosis of Asperger’s, autism, dyslexia and a number of children who had behaviour and learning difficulties but I was not aware of attachment disorders until taking up my new position. I have now been trained in working with children with Attachment difficulties and recognise that some of the children that I had previously worked with were showing a number of attachment characteristics.
Children in care or looked after children are children who have become the responsibility of the local authority. This can happen voluntarily by parents struggling to cope or through an Intervention by children's services because a child is at risk of significant harm.
Since doing The Nurture Training I have gained more knowledge about Attachment Disorders and that “In the right environment, there is therefore capacity for much change” (Gopnik et al, 2009; Greenfield, 2001)
Attachment theory began in the 1950s with the work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Bowlby became interested in young children's responses to loss, and began studying the realms of attachment and bonding. Bowlby and Ainsworth, an American psychologist who conducted some of the most extensive field research into mother-infant interaction ever completed, formulated what is now commonly known as attachment theory.
John Bowlby described attachment as a "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings” (Bowlby 1969, p194)
Bowlby suggested that a child would initially form only one attachment, the care giver and that the attachment figure acted as a secure base for exploring the world. The attachment relationship acts as a prototype for all future social relationships so disrupting it can have severe consequences.
John Bowlby believed that the relationship between the infant and its mother during the first five years of life was most crucial to socialization. He believed that disruption of this primary relationship could lead to a higher incidence of juvenile delinquency, emotional difficulties and antisocial behavior.
Mary Ainsworth developed the famous "Strange Situation" assessment, in which a researcher observes a child's reactions when a mother briefly leaves her child alone in an unfamiliar room. The way the child behaves during the separation and upon the mother's return can reveal important information about attachment. Based on her observations and research, Ainsworth concluded that there were three main styles of attachment: secure, anxious-avoidant and anxious-resistant. Since these initial finding, her work has spawned countless studies into the nature of attachment and the different attachment styles that exist between children and caregivers.
During the first three years of life, the brain’s neurological pathways are forming. The brain builds a network of neural pathways which control strong emotion and regulate mood. But frequent traumatic insults caused by episodes of abuse or neglect impair this regular neurological development, negatively impacting the child’s brain. A neural pathway is like an information wire circuiting the brain. Every experience that enters the brain needs to attach to another experience. So if early experiences are good neural pathways will cement in the brain that…