This past March, the Foster Care department hosted its first sensory training for foster parents. The parents brought their entire families to learn and engage in therapeutic, fun activities that support children who have experienced trauma in managing stressors in addition to building positive experiences within relationships. (Any child who is removed from his or her home and placed in foster care experiences some level of trauma.)
Each family received a binder with descriptions of the activities, as well as their therapeutic benefits. Those benefits include improving mood and focus, facilitating a calming response from the rhythmic and repetitive nature of the activity, facilitating self-control, and gaining a mastery of skill. Activities families have participated in include magic tricks, bean bag games, relays races, and making jewelry from beads and string. Since March, there have been two more trainings, with a third scheduled for Dec. 5.
Recently, two foster parents brought two foster boys who were placed in their home only an hour before the training. The following is an email from Mike Joranger, our training coordinator, about their experience:
Did you see the two new boys? The foster parents had just met them about an hour before the group, but decided to bring them anyway because they were the kind of kids who liked activity. Did they ever! I can’t think of a better way to help them calm their anxieties over being with a new family than the sensory activities they got that evening! This will be a challenging placement, but I really think the group gave it a good start.
A follow-up a month later showed that the brothers were doing well in their new home and continued to be very active. The foster parents added that the sensory training was a great way to ease them into their new home, and they will be regular attendees at future sensory trainings.
It’s always satisfying to see how trauma informed care works in practice, as it is doing with this family.
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