“Without the Institute, our boys would certainly be on the streets by now and headed for a life in and out of juvenile detention and later, prison.”
– Gary, Client/Parent
Children’s Family Treatment Program
Because we truly understand the complexities of attachment disorder, our program is unlike any other. Our model—based on ongoing research and experience—comes to life in real homes as the children live with our therapeutic treatment families for roughly six to nine months.
Our model is unique because:
1. We are experts and pioneers in the field of attachment. We base our treatment model on neuroscience research and years of experience.
We have extensive knowledge of attachment disorder and truly understand what kids and families need to heal.
Neuroscience research has taught us:
- Just as physical disabilities can hinder us on the outside, trauma harms kids on the inside.
- Because of the trauma they endured at young ages, all of the children that we treat were disrupted in their early development. They are behind emotionally and neurologically. Thus, they often behave much younger than their chronological ages. They don’t trust that caregivers will meet their needs. Similar to toddlers, they will treat caregivers well only if they get want they want. If not, they get unreasonably angry. They like to be in control and will often treat adults outside the family in superficially charming ways. They lie, steal, manipulate to get their way, and often treat fathers better than their mothers. Watch: 3 ways trauma can change the brain by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk
- The whole family suffers while living with a child left untreated for his developmental trauma. Other kids in the family feel angry and avoid the children with reactive attachment disorder. The frustration and anger parents typically feel through parenting further contributes to children’s fear and resistance of caregivers.
Our treatment model reflects this research:
- Although our compassionate treatment parents care for the children, they don’t carry the same resentment or exhaustion that the children’s parents often do. Our treatment parents are familiar with acting-out behaviors of children with RAD and know how to address them calmly and therapeutically. Treatment is more effective once children feel safe in our calm and structured therapeutic treatment environment.
- We work with kids based on where they are developmentally, rather than by their chronological ages. Because our children with developmental trauma are behind cognitively and emotionally, they require a living environment appropriate for earlier developmental stages. Similar to the safety caregivers provide toddlers, we surround our children with a close circle of security in which they are in are in our line-of-sight at all times. They learn how to follow directives and develop confidence and self-esteem through the lead of a safe, calm parent who lives with and guides them. We teach them to learn that their needs will get met, to learn to trust caregivers, to develop cause and effect thinking in regard to achieving the “wants” in their lives, and to accept responsibility for poor choices.
- Kids learn how to feel safe in real home environments with consistent parent figures or “practice parents”.
2. The kids in our program live with real families and attend small public schools, not facilities.
Kids live with our treatment families while in therapy—parents who went through the same journey as your own. Most of them lived with and treated their own children with attachment disorder.
They also attend small public schools where teachers have close communication with the Institute and treatment parents. Our treatment parents understand the complexities of attachment disorder from personal experience and were trained by the Institute of Attachment and Child Development to successfully treat kids.
Our family treatment model is critical for kids with attachment disorder because:
- The best chance to treat kids with attachment issues is to re-parent them through the developmental years that they missed. Their own families are too burnt out, tired, and angry to do so. We developed a therapeutic foster family program to help kids feel safe within firm and empathic parenting strategies.
- Kids with attachment disorder quickly learn how to manipulate residential treatment staff who rotate shifts and lack proper training and education about the disorder.
- In a residential treatment facility, kids with attachment disorder learn from each other. They quickly learn how to manipulate staff and treatment teachers. They don’t have that opportunity in our treatment homes or community schools.
3. We provide support, therapy, and relief for parents.
If you have lived with a child with attachment disorder, you have nothing left to give. We understand. It’s completely normal to feel frustrated, confused, angry, and exhausted. That’s why we embrace parents as well as the child.
Our parent support is so important because:
- Love isn’t enough to treat kids with attachment disorder. We’ll provide you with the education and tools you need to do so.
- You are depleted of the energy, stamina, and patience needed to help your child right now.
4. We’re a close-knit, small team that embraces your family.
We’re parent partners. Parents, psychotherapists, and treatment families work as a team in the best interest of the child.
Our team approach works because:
- Because we work together, kids can’t interfere with the treatment process. And they can begin to heal. Kids with attachment issues have keen abilities to manipulate adults, distort realities, and gain control—this is a part of the disorder. IACD therapists and treatment families fully understand this dynamic.
- Together, we provide different perspectives and a wide spectrum of experience and expertise, all with one focus – your family.
5. We create individual treatment plans just for your family.
We know that every child and family is unique. And we respect you for who you are. The therapist assigned to your family will develop a treatment plan just for your child.
Individual plans are important because:
- Everyone comes from a different place in life and with multiple family dynamics. You need a plan that meets your needs in a very distinct way.
- Most of our families have been through the program with their own adoptive and/or foster children and are well prepared to see through manipulative and controlling behaviors.
- The children are in line-of-sight at all times with their treatment parents who direct and guide them through all interactions and task completion.
- Children attend our local schools while they live with our therapeutic treatment families.
- All children receive a thorough psychiatric evaluation to decipher whether a mood disorder may contribute to their agitated/angry/oppositional state. Our clinicians have many years of experience working and/or treating kids with reactive attachment disorder and their families. They will provide effective medication or neurofeedback to help first calm their brains so they can receive effective therapy.
- If you live outside of Colorado, you can participate in therapy sessions via skype and phone calls while your child lives with with one of our therapeutic treatment families.
- We’ll develop a follow-up treatment plan that includes follow-up phone calls to support you and your hometown therapist.