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Author: Arthur Becker-Weidman, Ph.D.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse have profound immediate and long-term effects on a child’s development. The long-term effects of abuse and neglect of a child can be seen in higher rates of psychiatric disorders, increased rates of substance abuse, and a variety of severe relationship difficulties. Child abuse and neglect is an inter-generational problem. Most frequently the perpetrators of abuse and neglect are profoundly damaged people who have been abused and neglected themselves. There are clear links between neglect and abuse and later psychological, emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal disorders. The basis for this linkage is the impact that...

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Child Developmental FAQ

The bond between parents and child and the life long attachment that results are vital to the development of health relationships, personality, psychological development, and cognitive development. The Center for Family Development serves the needs of adoptive and foster families, including multicultural, multinational, and multibiological families. Assessment of attachment as well as treatment for children with attachment difficulties are our primary areas of practice. Attachment is a lasting connection between two people. It develops from the deep and lasting connection between a child and parent and forms the basis for all other relationships and a healthy personality. Healthy attachment is essential for: the full attainment of IQ, the ability to think logically, the development of satisfying ties to others, the development of conscience, and the ability to cope with stress and frustration. Attachment develops when the infant experiences a needs which is then met by the parent, followed by the child’s feeling of satisfaction. Repeated positive experiences create trust that the worlds is safe, the child’s needs will be met, the child is worthy and good, the child can influence the world, and the parent is reliable and good. Early deprivation, neglect, abuse, significant early health problems and hospitalization, repeated moves, or living in an orphanage can create attachment...

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Activities to Facilitate Attachment

Touching, rocking, eye contact, movement and physical closeness all will facilitate developmental attachment. Any activity that encourages reciprocity (such as pat-a-cake) and emotional attunement is helpful. Peek-a-boo with hands, blanket, hood of jacket, from behind a door This little piggy went to market with fingers or toes Comb the child’s hair facing each other while commenting on color, texture, shape, and form Washing child’s face, bathing child Lullaby singing. Cradle your child so that eye contact is maintained while you gently rock child and sing. Be sure to put child’s name and descriptions of the child’s features into the song whenever possible. Push that Button. Gently press on the child’s nose, ear, finger, toe, chin, etc. and make a noise such as “honk”, “beep”, or “toot.” Then have child copy your actions. Blow raspberries on child’s arm, leg, belly, cheek. “Pop” cheeks. Fill your mouth with air and gently guide your child’s hands to your cheeks to pop out the air and make a sound. Then do the same to the child. Singing and rhyming couple with movement. Bouncing, dancing, rocking, moving arms or legs, fingers, etc. Simon Says games. Rubbing lotion onto child’s hands, feet, arms, or legs. Playing with clay or shaving cream together to make shapes. Tower of hands: alternate hands and then move bottom hand to top of...

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Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: What it Is and What it Isn’t

There are many misconceptions and fictions about treatments for trauma-attachment disordered children. Is treatment dangerous and deadly? Is it a miracle cure? What, exactly, is Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy? First, some truths. Affective Developmental psychotherapy and other attachment therapies are the only form of treatment that is effective with trauma-attachment disordered children. It is the only “evidence-based” treatment, meaning that there has been research published in peer-reviewed journals1. In an on-going follow-up study we found that 1.3 years after treatment ended, there were statistically significant reductions in aggressive, delinquent, avoidant, and other symptoms7.  Affective Developmental Psychotherapy is primarily an experiential-based...

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The Subtle Signs of Attachment Disorder

Gail tells her seven-year-old daughter, Sally, to pick up the napkin Sally had dropped. As Sally crosses her arms a sad and angry pout darkens her face. Gail says, “Sally, I told you to pick up the napkin and throw it away. ” Sally stomps over to the napkin, picks it up, and throws it away. Crying and whining, Sally stands with her back to Gail. Sally, angry and unhappy is exhibiting one of the subtle signs of attachment sensitivity that nearly all children adopted at a young age demonstrate. An informal survey I conducted of children adopted from Asia between the ages of four months and two years of age revealed that over half the children showed subtle signs. Attachment is an interpersonal, interactive process that results in a child feeling safe, secure, and able to develop healthy, emotionally meaningful relationships. The process requires a sensitive, responsive parent who is capable of emotional engagement and participation in contingent collaborative communication (responsive communication) at nonverbal and verbal levels. The parent ‘s ability to respond to the child ‘s emotional state is what will prevent attachment sensitivities from becoming problems of a more severe nature. What are the subtle signs? Sensitivity to rejection and to disruptions in the normally attuned connection between mother and child. Avoiding comfort when the child ‘s feelings are hurt, although the child will turn to...

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