3 Special ThanksOur special thanks to Dr. Christine Dobson and the Child Trauma Academy for developing this training.
4 Before we begin . . .Before we begin, since our last session, have you encountered any issues in your practice related to the clinical issues we discussed in our last session: loss, grief, separation or identity?
5 Our Learning Objectives Describe three ways that trauma impacts adopted children. Identify at least three tools and techniques to support recovery from adverse beginnings. Describe five factors that affect early brain development. Describe the neurodevelopmental impact of neglect and traumatic stress in childhood.
6 Our Learning Objectives Describer at least three positive and three negative implications of brain neurobiology on child and youth development.Identify at least two clinical skills in using the principles of brain neurobiology in assessment.Identify at least two clinical skills when intervening in response to the neuro- developmental impact of:Childhood neglectTraumatic stress in childhoodChildhood PTSD
7 Our Learning Objectives Identify at least three signs/behaviors that can be present in:Adopted children who were previously maltreatedAdopted children with neglect-related attachment problemsList three critical principles for clinicians and caregivers to implement with children exposed to traumaDescribe at least two processes that characterize the development of the adolescent brain
11 The BrainThe eight fundamental processes of neurodevelopment that will aid in our understanding of how the brain develops and organizesThe key concepts of neurodevelopment that will build upon this understanding.
14 The Eight Fundamental Processes of Neurodevelopment
15 The Eight Fundamental Processes of Neurodevelopment NeurogenesisMigrationDifferentiationApoptosisArborizationSynaptogenesisSynaptic SculptingMyelination
16 1. NeurogenesisBirth of new cells in the brain Begins in-utero during the first trimester Most active during the second and third trimesters Impact of drug and alcohol use during this time
17 Have you worked with children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol Have you worked with children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol? If so, what issues were you aware of in the child’s development and behavior?
18 Some Key Points The behavior of children prenatally exposed to alcohol Behavior problems in children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
19 Some Key PointsChildren prenatally exposed to alcohol and who also suffer from Reactive Attachment DisorderMost children with FASD:Attachment issuesDisplay inappropriate sexual behaviorsShow poor judgmentHave difficulty controlling their impulsesAre emotionally immatureNeed frequent reminders of rules
20 Neurogenesis 100 billion neurons, 99% of which are present at birth Other supportive cells called glial cellsImmature neurons at birthMaturation of neurons depends at least in part on experience
21 Neurogenesis Neuronal plasticity Basis for any therapeutic changes Importance of malleability in relation to the impact of trauma on the development and organization of the infant’s brain
22 2. MigrationMethod by which neurons travel from their place of origin to their final position in the brain.Neurons migrate along glial cells scaffolding with the leading tip of the axon being led by a growth cone.Takes place over a fairly long period of time from a neurodevelopmental standpointMost active in-utero to the first year of lifeNearly complete by the time a child is three years old
23 2. Migration What factors play a role in the migration of the neurons? Genetics (which may predispose aperson to mental health problems)Environment (such as nutrition andtoxicants)Trauma
24 A Short Quiz Together1. True or False: Neuronal plasticity enables the child to adapt to environmental change and is important as we think about the impact of trauma on brain development and children’s healing.
31 3. DifferentiationBegins during the first trimester and is nearly complete by the age of 3Continues at some level throughout lifeTake place in response to chemical signals that are influenced by micro-environmental cuesMicro-environmental cues: Signals/stimuli that occur in a specific, localized area of the brain.Examples:Increase of the mother’s heart rate in uteroIncrease of stress hormones in the infant
32 3. DifferentiationExperiences or events that alter these chemicals or micro-environmental signals during development can impact the way neurons differentiate, thus altering functional capacity.Differentiation is sensitive to signals from the environment based on:The pattern of micro-environmental cuesIntensity of micro-environmental cuesTiming of micro-environmental cuesAlso very sensitive to changes in neurochemistry.
33 4. ApoptosisApoptosis refers to the death of neurons. Apoptosis begins in the third trimester and is completed by age 3. Not all neurons that are born are needed.Neurons that are not needed have a programmeddeath. For example, the differentiation of fingersand toes in a developing human embryo occursbecause cells between the fingers and toesapoptose; the result is that the digitsare separate.
35 4. ApoptosisDeath of neurons when there is a lack of adequate connection to an active neural networkThe brain: A “use it or lose it” organThe death of neurons appearsto have both genetic andenvironmental determinants.
45 6. SynaptogenesisProcess by which developing neurons make connections with one anotherNeuronal communication at synapsesConnections are not random – they are guided by genetic and environmental cues
46 6. SynaptogenesisPatterned repetitive experiences during the first years of life refine and sculpt these connections.The strength and survival of theseconnections are based on their use.The more a connection is used, thestronger it becomes.
47 “Cells that fire together, wire together.” Peter Furstenberg 6. Synaptogenesis“Cells that fire together, wire together.” Peter Furstenberg
49 7. Synaptic Sculpting Important principles: The more neurons are used, the closer they grow together.As neurons grow closer together, the connections become more efficient.Neurons that are not actively used with sufficient activity die.
50 7. Synaptic SculptingThe creation and loss of synapses: During the first 8 months of life From age 1 through childhood By adolescence (at least in the cortex) and through most of our adult lives
51 8. MyelinationThe creation of more efficient electrochemical transduction down the neuron as specialized glial cells wrap around the axons
52 8. Myelination Begins at birth and continues through adolescence Enables more rapid and complex functioningAllows for more smooth, regulated functioningBegins at birth and continues through adolescenceRegionally specific based upon development: Related to the part of the brain that is developing at the time.
58 A Short Review Quiz Together 3. In synaptic sculpting:A. The more neurons are used, the closer they grow togetherB. The closer neurons grow together, the more efficient is their connectionC. When neurons are not used sufficiently, they dieD. All of the above
59 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: D. All of the above
60 A Short Review Quiz Together 5. Myelination:A. Enables more rapid and complex functioningB. Allows for more smooth, regulated functioningC. Begins in adolescenceD. All of the aboveE. Only A and B
61 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: E. Only A and B
62 A Few Reminder PointsWhat are your thoughts about this amazing transformation? Think about the children you have worked with – do you notice the differences in their development based upon the amount or richness of the stimulation they receive? Do any specific cases that stand out in your mind?
67 Concept #2: Neurodevelopment is sequential. From the lowest, most primitive parts of the brain (brainstem) to the most complex areas (the cortex).The lowest parts of the brain – the brainstem -- control the most basic regulatory functions – heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature – this part of the brain is mostly developed at birth.As you move up the brain (from the brainstem to the midbrain) the focus is on functions such as appetite, sleep and arousal. The limbic area mediates functions such as motor regulation, emotional reactivity and attachment.The cortex, of course, houses concrete and abstract thought.
68 Concept #2: Neurodevelopment is sequential. CortexLimbicMid-Brain/DiencephalonBrainstem
69 Concept #3: Use-Dependent Development The human brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. (Perry, 2006)The more the neural system is activated, the more the system will change in response to activation. This change is in response to “patterned, repetitive behavior.” (Perry, 2006)
70 Concept #3: Use-Dependent Development Let’s look at an example of patterned, repetitive behavior:
71 Concept #4: The Human Brain Organizes. The brain organizes as a reflection of early experiences:Love and nurturing from a primary caregiverExposure to new people, places, things provided in the context of a safe, secure primary relationshipA variety of stimulation provided in a safe environment – some examples:Access to developmentally appropriate toysInteraction with others, including same age children
72 Concept #4: The Human Brain Organizes Activities that include all of the sensesActivities like rocking, singing, stroking/infant massage, skin contact, gazing into the infant’s face – baby gazing backSomatosensory bath:stimulation through touch,smell, sight, sound and taste
73 Concept #4: The Human Brain Organizes The somatosensory bath is animportant vehicle for brain growthand organization.Bruce Perry’ descriptinon
74 Concept #4: The Human Brain Organizes The stronger and more intense the experience -- the more likely is theimpact on the organization of the brainWhy traumatic experiences have such a powerful and detrimental impact on the developing brain: Traumatic experiences “trump” the impact of normal developmental experiences
75 Concept #4: The Human Brain Organizes “Experience can change the mature brain – but experience during the critical periods of early childhood organizes brain systems.” (Perry, 2003).
76 Concept #5: Critical Windows of Development As the brain organizes, it requires specific patterns of activity to occur at specific times during development.During these critical periods of development, the organizing brain is extremely sensitive to input from the environment.
77 Concept #5: Critical Windows of Development These critical windows of development are different for each area of the brain and neural system – and for different functions.
78 Concept #5: Critical Windows of Development Example: Language development
79 Concept #5: Critical Windows of Development Normal brain development (neurons and the functions they mediate) requires specific patterns of a activity and signals at specific times. During these sensitive periods of development, the organizing brain is the most vulnerable to input from the environment, including traumatic experience.
80 Concept #5: Critical Windows of Development VERY IMPORTANTIf the brainstem and midbrain develop in a less than optimal fashion (for example, because of trauma), the development of the other regions of the brain will be impacted.
81 Concept #5: Critical Windows of Development Impact of early developmental trauma, especially trauma
82 A Short Review Quiz Together 1. The vast majority of the neurons a person possesses in her lifetime:A. Are “born” during the toddler yearsB. Are present but not organized at birthC. Are organized and fully functional at birthD. None of the aboveE. All of the above
83 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: B. Are present but not organized at birth
84 A Short Review Quiz Together 2. The brainstem mediates ______ functions?A. Basically, all humanB. Complex or abstractC. Simple, regulatoryD. None of the aboveE. All of the above
85 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: C. Simple regulatory
86 A Short Review Quiz Together 3. The brain organizes in a hierarchal manner:A. From the top to the bottomB. From the outside inC. From the bottom to the topD. From the inside outE. Both A and BF. Both C and D
87 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: F. Both C and D. From the bottom to the top AND from the inside out
88 A Short Review Quiz Together 4. True or False: Early developmental experiences are no more powerful than experience later in life in shaping the brain.
89 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: False. Early developmental experiences have the ability to influence the organization of the brain.
90 A Question for Discussion Why is it important that clinicians – psychologists, social workers, marriage and family therapists understand healthy neurodevelopment?
92 The Impact of the Social Environment on Brain Development
93 The Impact of the Social Environment on Brain Development “For the human brain, the most important information for successful development is conveyed by the social rather than the physical environment.”(Tucker, 1992)
94 The Impact of the Social Environment on Brain Development In the case of each and every child we work with, the brain’s functioning is a reflection of the child’s experiences.
95 The Impact of the Social Environment on Brain Development What are the qualities of early childhood experiences that are essential to a child becoming a healthy, caring, responsible adult?
96 The Impact of the Social Environment on Brain Development Here are some key qualities: Positive Predictable Consistent Nurturing
97 The Impact of the Social Environment on Brain Development Healthy attachment to a primary stable, consistent caregiverSynchronous, interactive and attuned relationship with a stable caregiverA safe, nurturing and enriching environmentBruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D.
98 Question for Discussion What are some early childhood caregiving situations that adopted children often have experienced?
99 Some Early Caregiving Experiences Chronic neglectAbandonmentInconsistent caregivingMultiple caregiversPhysical abuseSexual abuseEmotional abuse
100 Attachment and the Brain For those reasons, it is important for clinicians to understand the impact of early experiences on the brain-mediated capabilities of attachment, bonding and attunement.
101 The Infant’s Dependence From birth, the infant is totally dependenton adults, most specifically their primarycaregiver.
102 A Question for Discussion What is it that creates the “pull” for the primary caregiver (usually the mother) to provide the nurturing, loving environment needed by her infant?
106 Stress that is severe and unpredictable makes a child more vulnerable.
107 False Associations The brain makes associations between sensory signals thatco-occur in any given moment in time. Thiscapacity allows us to survive but it also makes usvulnerable to false associations.These false associations impact children in a number of ways. They can cause a traumatized child to jump at a loud sound or lash out at a raised voice, either of which may not be threatening at all but increase arousal based upon memories of abuse.
108 Stress and the Relational Context The stress response systems are intimately attunedto the social and emotional context. Interactions withsafe and familiar individuals create calm, well-regulated stress responses. Unfamiliar or hostilesocial interactions increase the tone and reactivity ofthe stress response systems.Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD
109 So what is the stress response system? The primary role is to sense stressBecause infants are not capable of meeting their own needs, they rely on caregivers to become their “external stress regulator”.When the caregiver is consistent, predictable, and nurturing, providing patterned, repetitive stimulation, the infant develops an adaptive, flexible stress response system and builds in healthyattachment capabilities.
111 The Stress Response System Curbs nonessential functions like those in the digestive and reproductive systems, growth processes and alters the immune system.When the brain perceives that the threat has passed, the body returns to normal or baseline. If the caregiver is depressed, stressed, high, inconsistent, or absent, these two crucial neural networks (stress-response andrelational) develop abnormally.The child becomes more vulnerable tostress in the future and becomes lesscapable of benefitting from the healthynurturing supports that might helpbuffer future stressors or trauma.(Perry, 2000).
113 So, as you are working with adoptive children and their families, always remember . . . This primary caregiver-infant relationship is the first relationship the child experienced and is what provided the template for all future relationships.
114 Small Group Work Handout #5.1 Templates for Future Relationships In your small groups, discuss the template for future relationships for each of the children in the case examples.
116 Let’s discuss the talking points that you developed in your pre-Module assignment. How would you describe to an adoptive parent the impact of trauma and chronic neglect on early brain development and the later adolescent functioning of their child?
117 What We Need to Communicate to Adoptive Parents The presence of loving, attentive adoptive parents will NOT remediate these issues on its own.
118 Question for Discussion Does this fit with what you have experienced or heard from adoptive families with whom you have worked?
119 Neglectful and Abusive Environments During the First Three Years of Life
120 Adopted ChildrenThe brain systems responsible for healthy emotional relationships will NOT develop in an optimal way without the right kinds of experiences at the right times.Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD
121 Attunement: What is it?Being aware of and responsive to another person.
122 Attunement: What is it? How does my child feel? Is my child happy or sad, interested, engaged, capable of listening?Is she in distress, hungry or just needing to be held?What is the best way to communicate to her whether something I notice in her behavior that is right or wrong, a feeling an idea…in anymoment?What will engage, encourage andshow her feelings of love andcare?
123 Attunement: What is it?Attunement and non-verbal communication
124 The Relationship Between Attunement and Attachment Attunement: What is it?The Relationship Between Attunement and Attachment
125 Healthy Attunement: Elements Sensitivity to othersAttention to non-verbal communicationReading and responding to the cues of anotherSynchronicity and interaction
126 Question for Discussion Because of issues with attachment and bonding, adopted children may have attunement issues. What issues with attunement might you anticipate?
127 AttunementProblems in attunement can get better – children can be taught to read the nonverbal, social language of other people.
128 What happens when the window of opportunity for attachment is missed?
129 So why focus so much on bonding and attachment in early development? So why focus so much on bonding and attachment in early development?“Because healthy brain development and organization occur in the context of a safe, nurturing, attuned relationship. And because early patterns of attachment affect the quality of information processing throughout life.”Crittenden, 1992
130 A Short Review Quiz Together 1. The capacity and desire to form emotional relationships is related to:A. The organization and functioning of specific parts of the human brainB. Whether the primary caregiver was available during the first 3 months of the child’s lifeC. Whether the child was able to get the attention of his/her caregiverD. All of the above
131 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: a) The organization and functioning of specific parts of the human brain
132 A Short Review Quiz Together 2. The systems in the brain that allow us to form and maintain emotional relationships first develop:A. During infancy and the first years of lifeB. During pre-school years, as children begin to engage in more interactive play with peersC. As children become more involved in school and organized sports activitiesD. All of the aboveE. None of the above
133 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: a) During infancy and the first years of life
134 A Short Review Quiz Together 3. True or False: Adoptive parents only need to be loving and nurturing and provide a safe environment in order for their child to get better.
135 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: False. Adoptive parents must be taught activities to aid their child;s brain in re-organizing for attachment. A strong relationships with the caregiver will not just develop over time and will not be easily achieved without targeted, intentional interactions.
136 A Short Review Quiz Together 4. True or False: Children who have difficulty reading the social and nonverbal cues due to problems in attunement can overcome this problem.
137 A Short Review Quiz Together Answer: True. Children can be taught how to read the nonverbal, social language of another with the help of therapist and trained caregivers.
138 Questions for Discussion People who work with children have varying beliefs about the etiology of attachment. What are your beliefs about how attachment is impacted by the experiences of children with whom you work? How might those beliefs impact your work with adopted children and their adoptive families?
139 Understanding the Impact of Trauma on the Developing Child: A Focus on Neglect – Assessment (Part 1)
140 Understanding the Impact of Trauma on the Developing Child: A Focus on Neglect The first three years are when the brain is making the majority of its “primary” associations and the core neural networks organize as a reflection of early experience. Early developmental trauma and neglect have a disproportionate influence on brain organization and later brain functioning. Perry & Hambrick, 2008
141 Small Group Discussion Handout #5.2Consider in your small groups the two graphics prepared by Dr. Bruce Perry in Handout #5.2 and discuss the questions that are provided.
143 Some Key PointsTraumatized children spend most of their lives in a state of low-level fear – even though outwardly they may look calm and relaxed.While in this state, it takes very little to move them up the arousal continuum.They will respond by using either a dissociative or hyperarousal adaptation. Their functioning on every level (emotional, behavioral, cognitive) will reflect this state.
144 A Constant State of Arousal Hyperarousal Heart Rate Dissociative Adaptation
145 How the Brain Responds to a Traumatic Event With a prolonged alarm reaction, the child will experience an altered neural state.The longer the child remains in a persistent states of fear, the more likely it is that the child’s brain will change to reflect these experiences.
146 The Two Broad Categories of Traumatic Experiences of Adopted Children Neglect Violence
147 Neglect From a child’s protective services standpoint What is neglect?From a child’s protective services standpointFrom a neurodevelopmental view
148 CT Scans of Children: What do you See CT Scans of Children: What do you See? The Child Trauma Academy Copyright 1997 Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D.
149 What These CT Scans Show Illustrate the negative impact of neglect on the developing brainCT scan on the left: An image from a healthy three year old with an average head sizeCT scan on the right: A three year old child suffering from severe sensory-deprivation neglect (Perry & Pollard, 1997).
150 AndreyLet’s look at the case of Andrey, adopted from an Eastern European orphanage at the age of 3. The family adopted Mira, an infant girl, age 2 and half months, at the same time from the same orphanage. This case is based on an actual case seen by the clinicians of the Child Trauma Academy.