Keynote: (Jason Johnson)
Remember Our Why: The Heart of God Put on Display
As foster and adoptive families, we will discuss our motivation as to why we would get involved. We’ll continue with what compels us to stay involved and ultimately, how the heart of God is most clearly demonstrated through our care of vulnerable children and families.
Reframing Foster Care and Adoption: Getting Refreshed and Staying Engaged (Jason Johnson)
In this session, we will share experiences, be encouraged in why we are doing what we are doing and gain practical tools to be sustained along the journey.
Think, Move, Learn: A Sensory Integration/Movement Based Approach to Life (Tracy Murray)
Tracy will present a fun and novel approach to incorporating sensory integrative ideas into everyday activities. Her Think, Move, Learn obstacle course approach is beneficial for typically developing children, as well as those who struggle with learning and speech delays, poor coordination, and motor planning issues, spectrum disorders and more.
The Gut Brain Connection—Common Nutrient Imbalances in Brain Related Disorders (Courtney Snyder)
Our mental and physical health involves complex interactions between three areas: 1) the balance of microbes in our gastrointestinal tract, 2) our genetic vulnerabilities and 3) our current and past experiences (i.e. diet, exercise, illness, toxic exposures, stress, trauma, attachment, sense of well being, spiritual congruence, etc.).
Research is showing that the food and nutrients we take into our bodies can impact the microbes in our gastrointestinal tract, the expression of our genes, as well as how well we manage stress and toxic exposures. We will discuss the common nutrient imbalances found in individuals with brain related symptoms like inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, mood swings, stress intolerance, worry, fear, rage/tantrums, anger, inattention, etc.) We will also discuss my clinical experience using nutrient based therapies to treat children with early attachment disruption and trauma.
Trauma Informed Teaching Strategies (Kristi Thompson)
This workshop will help teachers understand factors that contribute to trauma, recognize how trauma affects students in the classroom and learn practical strategies that help students heal, relate and learn.
Our Brain, Child Development and Adoption (Joan Miller)
In this session, we will discuss an overview of normal child development in the brain, what can go wrong with children who are adopted, and where hope and healing can begin.
The Behavioral Impact of Trauma and Attachment: Strategies and Tools to Reduce Meltdowns (Marcia Ryan)
This presentation will explore the behavioral effects of trauma and attachment issues in the child-parent/caregiver relationship. Strategies will be incorporated to help parents recognize and expand awareness of trauma symptoms. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and professionals will be given practical tools to decrease meltdowns by enhancing attunement, increasing co-regulation, and preparing for transitions with their children.
Home Makeover—Transforming Your Family from the Inside Out (Renee Witkowski & Carol Lozier)
Parenting adopted and foster children can be challenging and the ideal home you had planned may differ from your current reality. In this workshop, we will explore the various components of your house including your values, beliefs, supports, strengths and ways of coping. We will discuss the gaps between where you are and where you want to be. Using information from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy ( a researched therapy model created by Dr. Marsha Linehan) and Professional Life Coaching, we will share strategies, tips and tools to transform your home into a space that is full of God’s peace, despite the struggles and trials of raising children from hard places.
Self-Care: A Secret Ingredient to Effective Parenting (Dr. Amy Denley)
Adoptive and foster parents are often tremendously generous and “others-focused” by nature. But this same strength can leave adoptive/foster parents vulnerable to burnout if they aren’t encouraged to acknowledge the tremendous physical and emotional investment parenting requires. This session will discuss the importance of self-care as an essential ingredient to effective parenting.
Will You Be My Friend?—A Look at Social Skills Development (Britt Boyle)
In this session, we will discuss typical social skills development. From there, we will turn our discussion to reasons for and causes of social skills delay. We will focus in on the effects of trauma on speech/language and social skills development. We will continue to explore red flags you should be aware of, what you can do to improve social skills, when to seek professional help and where to go for help.
Bounce Back Better: The Science of Resilience & Optimism (Liz Everman)
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of building what’s right with you—not just fixing what’s wrong. In this session, we’ll do a character strengths assessment and discuss how living authentically can change your body chemistry. New research shows the key to active resiliency is using your signature strengths and intentional actions to change the structure of your brain, build new neural pathways and even generate new brain cells. You’ll learn how working with worry and doubting your doubts can help you be more resilient. For fun, we’ll do a brain workout and explore the science behind eight, 10 second hugs a day, and how they can short circuit the fear hormone. Best of all, you’ll learn how to teach your children ways to cultivate an authentic resilient spirit; one of the greatest gifts you can give. You and/or your children can take the free character strengths assessment online at www.viacharacter.org and bring your top 5 strengths along with you for discussion.
Physician, Heal Thyself: The Implication of Adult Attachment (Alicia Olsen)
As parents of traumatized children, you are doing healing work. Your capacity to help your child heal is influenced by your own personal history and healing work. All parents were children themselves first. As such, you were and still are impacted by how you were parented. The attachment style you had as a child carries over into an adult attachment style, which is predictive of your own children’s attachment style. Exploring your own past and adult attachment style will allow you to be more fully present and emotionally available for your child.
Healing (and Fun) Alternatives to Talking About the Tough Stuff (Marybeth Orton)
This breakout session will give a brief overview and the benefits of expressive therapies such as art therapy, play therapy, animal assisted/pet therapy, EFT, EMDR therapy, bibliotherapy and sandtray therapy.