As you go on with your Thursday, we want you to know that you are with us today too. Here at the Institute for Attachment and Child Development, we’ve worked for several months on the planning committee for the 29th annual ATTACh (Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children) conference with the guidance of the amazing ATTACh staff. And today is finally the first day of the conference here in Denver, Colorado.
While it may seem like just another event, this conference is far more than swag, a silent auction, and booths. It is the attachment community, getting louder and stronger together. Psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, social workers, counselors, occupational therapists, educators, parents and caregivers of children with attachment difficulties, and other child welfare stakeholders have flown in from all over the United States for this event. And there are many of them. “We’re expecting a record number of attendees at the conference this year,” said Mary M. McGowan, ATTACh Executive Director.
More people are learning about reactive attachment disorder. More parents and professionals are speaking up for families battling the disorder than ever before. But we still have so much further to go.
There’s still so many people in the world who’ve never heard of the term “reactive attachment disorder”. Or if they do, they don’t know what to do about it. Many actually make matters worse for kids and families due to their lack of education. Meanwhile, kids who’ve come from traumatic beginnings continue to fight an uphill battle. Families continue to fall apart. Lives are destroyed.
That’s why we all need to work together. You may feel like you don’t know everything you need to know to make a big difference for kids with the disorder. And maybe you don’t. Yet. But if you have the heart and the will to learn more and keep going, our attachment community need you.
Maybe you are an adoptive parent who walked into this journey with no idea about attachment. Like many other adoptive parents, the adoption agency told you that your adopted child would be just fine after he “settled in”. But that hasn’t happened. You fight desperately everyday to keep your family together. You’re determined to find real help.
Perhaps you are a foster parent who wants to help kids battling trauma. However, you do not have sufficient resources to do so. You’re just now learning about reactive attachment disorder but don’t know what to do with the information. You’re ready to act.
Or you are a professional working with kids, whether in social services, education, or in therapy. You got your education to make a difference. Although you’re familiar with the disorder, however, you recognize that there’s still more to learn.
You may know first-hand about the disorder as a seasoned professional, parent with grown children with the disorder, or a friend of family member who truly understands. You want to help in any way you can.
Wherever you fall in this attachment community, you’re here for one reason—because you want to make a positive difference for kids. And that’s why we’re carrying you along with us in our hearts and minds today and always. Because we need you.
We need you to educate yourself even further about the disorder so you can educate others.
Once you’re fully aware of what you need to parent, do your job most effectively, or advocate for the cause, we need you to demand collaboration and support from those around you.
We need you to be the squeaky wheel with your colleagues, friends, family, insurance companies, congressmen, and anyone else you need to get the necessary resources to do what you need to do.
You may feel isolated. You may feel small. But we know you’re mighty, even though you don’t always feel it. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t. You’re doing what you do because you are a person who cares. And who acts upon it.
So you’re here with us in Denver, today and every day. Because together, we’re stronger. It’s not just about this day or this conference. It’s about all of us coming together, speaking up, and getting stronger through education, advocacy, and perhaps some tears. But no matter what, we must forge ahead together despite the obstacles. Because our kids need us, we need each other, and our communities rely upon it (even if they don’t know it yet). These kids are our future. What will you do about it?