Perhaps you have been following The Campaign to Heal Childhood Trauma online or you’ve heard rumblings for a new diagnosis for childhood trauma. For those new to this initiative, The Campaign to Heal Childhood Trauma is a grassroots partnership between Calo Programs and three leading, national attachment, trauma and adoption nonprofits; The Attachment and Trauma Network (ATN), The American Adoption Congress (AAC) and Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh). The purpose of this collaboration is to increase compassion and understanding for the lifelong effects of early life trauma often impacted by adoption and to share a hope for healing. Besides taking the message on the road via a series of multi city bus tours that provide education and connection to hundreds of professionals, parents, clinicians and others. The tour also provides advocacy for the inclusion of Developmental Trauma Disorder in the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders commonly known as the DSM-5. Why is this important? Let’s explain:
Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) in its simplest form is characterized by interpersonal victimization or a disruption in the caregiver relationship via neglect, prolonged separation, abuse, death, violence or loss. According to a new survey on adverse childhood experiences by the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), almost half the nation’s children have experienced at least one or more types of serious childhood trauma. And, for those who work with adoptees, it is Calo Programs view that there cannot be an adoption without a preexisting loss or trauma. Yet, these traumas are often overlooked or mistreated in clinical settings.
In 2007, a team from the the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, a consortium of seventy child mental health centers founded and funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, brought together clinicians who work with children who have complex trauma histories and were the first to propose DTD and capture the central realities of life for these children and advocate for DTD’s inclusion in the 2011 iteration of the DSM-5. How will this help?
- Recognition of DTD will help parents obtain insurance reimbursement for clinical services, which will improve access to much needed treatment and encourage early intervention.
- Clinicians who treat young people who experience the effects of DTD will no longer have to stitch together a medley of inaccurate diagnoses to get a workable treatment plan. In addition, inclusion of DTD in the DSM will require further training for clinicians to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to provide more effective treatment interventions.
- Recognition of DTD will help social services, including adoption agencies, provide parents with a host of proven therapeutic parenting techniques that can be implemented in the home and mitigate the effects of early trauma on children’s behavior.
- School systems and classrooms will evaluate their environments to become more trauma informed.
- And finally, recognition of DTD will open the door for more federal funding for research to better understand the pervasive effects of this complicated issue.
The vast majority of behavioral health and substance abuse problems can be traced back to early life trauma, so join The Campaign to Heal Childhood Trauma and help change the face of behavioral health treatment in this country. Go to www.endchildhoodtrauma.com to learn more, sign up and see the dates and locations for the next bus tour scheduled for May 2018.