Coronavirus (COVID-19): information, advice and frequently asked questions

Adverse Childhood Experiences and attachment

A resilient child will have, or have had experience of, a consistent, positive parent or carer. They will be securely attached and their behaviour influenced by their feeling worthwhile, safe and capable. It is accepted that positive parenting and positive role models (responsive, available, meeting the child’s needs) can help to promote a persons ability to develop positive attachment behaviour right through to early adulthood.

There are however many children and young people in education establishments that demonstrate avoidant or ambivalent behaviour to adults. How might we best enable these individuals to access learning and cope with school life?

Attachment in the Classroom

Avoidant
Approach to school and classroom Apparent indifference to uncertainty in new situations
Response to teacher
  • Denial of need of support
  • Sensitivity to proximity of teacher
  • Response to the task
  • Needs to be autonomous and independent of teacher
  • Hostility towards the teacher is directed towards the task
  • The task operates as an emotional safety barrier between the pupil and the teacher
  • Skills and difficulties
  • Limited use of creativity
  • Likely to be underachieving
  • Limited use of language
  • The relationship dynamic within the profile can also be summarised by the Learning Triangle, in which the child avoids the relationship with the teacher, and directs his or her focus towards the task.

    Resistant/Ambivalent
    Approach to school and classroom
  • Denial of need of support
  • Sensitivity to proximity of teacher
  • Response to the task
  • Difficulties attempting the task if unsupported
  • Unable to focus on the task for fear of losing the teachers attention
  • Skills and difficulties Likely to be underachieving
  • Language may well be developed but not consistent with levels of achievement
  • Numeracy may be weak
  • The learning triangle for this pattern reflects the pupil and adult at the expense of the task: interpreted in terms of early relationships, it may demonstrate an unresolved conflict, which does not permit “another to intrude into the mother/child dyad. In the learning situation, the child is preoccupied with the relationship with the teacher, at the expense of the task.

    Disorganised / Disorientated
    Approach to school and classroom Intense anxiety which may be expressed as controlling and omnipotent
    Response to teacher
  • Great difficulty experiencing trust in authority of the teacher but may submit to the authority of the head of the school
  • May be unable to accept being taught and / or unable to “permit” the teacher to know more than they do
  • Response to the task
  • The task may seem like a challenge to their fears if incompetence, triggering overwhelming feelings of humiliations and rejection of the task
  • Difficulty accepting “not knowing”
  • May appear to be omnipotent and know everything already
  • Skills and difficulties
  • May seem unimaginative and uncreative, and find conceptual thought difficult
  • Likely to be underachieving and possibly at a very immature stage of learning
  • The triangular model for this pattern demonstrates the difficulties in engaging with the teacher and with the learning task and has long term implications for future adult relationships and access in society. The fear of many who work with these children is that there may be long term implications for mental health and offending.

    Beacon House

    Beacon House is a team of professional, warm and highly experienced chartered psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and occupational therapists. We provide a wide range of mental health assessments and effective therapies for children and young people, families and adults who are experiencing mental health difficulties, emotional and behavioural problems and relationship conflict.

    Beacon House have produced a range of free resources including the one below:

  • The 3 R's: Reaching The Learning Brain

    Beacon House is a team of professional, warm and highly experienced chartered psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and occupational therapists. We provide a wide range of mental health assessments and effective therapies for children and young people, families and adults who are experiencing mental health difficulties, emotional and behavioural problems and relationship conflict.

    Beacon House have produced a range of free resources including the one below:

    pic

    View more:

    Visit Beacon House website - http://beaconhouse.org.uk/useful-resources/