Being a Trauma & Attachment responsive school
Liverpool HEARTS Attachment and Trauma Responsive Schools Project
We are proud to be part of Liverpool Hearts Attachment Trauma Responsive School Project which is being facilitated by the Virtual School Liverpool and the Attachment Research Community. As part of the project, two members of staff are studying with Chester University with a focus on Attachment, Trauma and Mental Health and Wellbeing for children, young people and adults. The aim of the project is to equip our school with the necessary skills to further enhance the support that we offer to our children and families.
Attachment is a theory developed by psychologists to explain how a child interacts with the adults looking after him or her. If a child has a healthy attachment, this means the child can be confident that the adults will respond to the child’s needs, for example if they are hungry, tired or frightened, the adult caregiver will respond to meet the child’s needs or reassure and comfort them.
There are times when a carer’s ability to look after a child and respond consistently may be interrupted: post-natal depression, bereavement, divorce, misuse of drugs, and alcohol. This has been noted to have potentially very serious and damaging consequences for the adult that child will become. If caregivers are seriously inconsistent or unresponsive in their behaviour to the child, the child may become very anxious as they are not able to predict how the adults around him will act; the child may even give up trying to get his needs met.
It is the role of the adult to guide the pupil in developing confidence to explore his environment and develop a good sense of self-esteem. This will help the child grow up to be a happy and functioning adult.
A traumatic event is a frightening, dangerous, or violent event that poses a threat to a child’s life or bodily integrity. Witnessing a traumatic event that threatens life or physical security of a loved one can also be traumatic. This is particularly important for young children as their sense of safety depends on the perceived safety of their attachment figures.
Traumatic experiences can initiate strong emotions and physical reactions that can persist long after the event. Children may feel terror, helplessness, or fear, as well as physiological reactions such as heart pounding, vomiting, or loss of bowel or bladder control. Children who experience an inability to protect themselves or who lacked protection from others to avoid the consequences of the traumatic experience may also feel overwhelmed by the intensity of physical and emotional responses.