Children from hard places and the brain DVD

This DVD is a must-watch for all caregivers of kids from hard places.

This DVD helps summarize the impact of trauma on a developing brain to parents and professionals. This video describes the effects of chronic stress on the structure, wiring, and chemistry of the brain. Chronic stress makes children vulnerable to social, learning, and behavioral problems if they do not receive intervention.

Available as a physical DVD, or a digital download. One-week rentals of the digital download are only $7. More video resources are available on the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development website.

Books to Read

The Connected Child by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine: A book that explains the concepts of TBRI® to parents looking to understand connected parenting.

Cindy R. Lee books: A series of 8 children's books that teach the tenets of TBRI®, such as being "gentle and kind," having "re-dos," and "accepting no."

The Out-Of-Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz: A tool for parents to use while navigating Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and sensory preferences.

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk: This book explains the physical impacts that chronic stress can have on the body. Impacts such as mental illness, physical illness, and shorter life expectancy. A very technical read, but informative for those wondering what children from a hard place may be experiencing physically over the course of their lives.

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson: An easy to read book that helps explain to both parents and children how the developing brain works. Includes helpful tools and comics to help children understand how their brain works and what is happening when they feel out of control of their brains and bodies.

Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell: A tool for parents to reflect more mindfully on their history and what experiences they bring to the table. Not a quick or easy read, but life-changing for parents who want to work on the trauma in their own lives and how it impacts their children.

I Love You Rituals by Becky A. Bailey: A book full of nursery rhymes and songs with positive messages. It includes directions for dances or hand movements to help you connect with your child and teach them their own preciousness in these simple interactions.

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz: A series of case studies from a child psychiatrist that noted how the impact of early childhood trauma is not something that children can simply "get over." And the stories of both tragedy and hope that he found through these patients.


Research Articles

Bath, H. (2008). The three pillars of trauma informed care. Reclaiming Children & Youth, 17(3), 17-21.

All who interact with traumatized children in home, school, and community can make important contributions to healing and growth. This care involves actions to strengthen three pillars: safety, connections, and managing emotional impulses.

Becker-Weidman, A. (2009). Effects of early maltreatment on development: A descriptive study using the Vineland adaptive behavior scales-II, Child Welfare, 88(2), 137-161.

Children with histories of chronic early maltreatment  may develop complex trauma. This study found that adopted and foster children with a psychiatric diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder had a developmental age (age equivalency) of 4.4 years, while the average chronological age was 9.9 years.

Cassidy, J. (2001). Truth, lies, and intimacy: An attachment perspective, Attachment & Human Development, 3, 121-55. doi: 10.1080/14616730110058999. 

The paper begins with the discussion of four key abilities required for intimacy: the ability to seek care, the ability to give care, the ability to feel comfortable with an autonomous self, and the ability to negotiate. Attachment, intimacy, and sexuality are discussed, followed by attachment, intimacy, and truth.

Field, T., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Vera, Y., Gil, K., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C. & Gonzalez-Garcia, A. (2004). Prenatal maternal biochemistry predicts neonatal biochemistry, The International Journal of Neuroscience, 114, 933-45. doi: 10.1080/00207450490461305.

Depressed and nondepressed mothers were recruited prenatally at an ultrasound clinic. Their urine samples were assayed prenatally and neonatally, and their newborns' urines were assayed neonatally. The depressed mothers showed significantly higher cortisol and norepinephrine and significantly lower dopamine levels during assessment. Newborns' neonatal urine chemistry reflected the same results of their mothers' prenatally. The continuity between the mother's and the newborn's neurotransmitter profiles and data show that elevated norepinephrine and cortisol predict to low birthweight and prematurity.

Field, T., Diego, M., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2006). Prenatal depression effects on the fetus and newborn: A review, Infant Behavior & Development, 29, 445-55. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2006.03.003.

This review covers research on the negative effects of prenatal depression and cortisol on fetal growth, prematurity and low birthweight. All of these problems including prenatal depression, elevated cortisol, prematurity and low birthweight and even postpartum depression have been reduced by prenatal massage therapy provided by the women’s partners. Massage therapy combined with group interpersonal psychotherapy was also effective for reducing depression and cortisol levels.

Henry, J., Sloane, M., & Black-Pond, C. (2007). Neurobiology and neurodevelopmental impact of childhood traumatic stress and prenatal alcohol exposure, Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 38, 99-108.

This study analyzed the impact on childhood neurodevelopment of prenatal alcohol exposure and postnatal traumatic experience compared to postnatal traumatic experience alone. Findings indicated that children who had been exposed prenatally to alcohol along with postnatal traumatic experience had lower intelligence scores and more severe neurodevelopmental deficits in language, memory, visual processing, motor skills, and attention than did traumatized children without prenatal alcohol exposure, as well as greater oppositional/defiant behavior, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and social problems.

Hoffman, K., Marvin, R. S., Cooper, G., & Powell, B. (2007). Changing toddlers' and preschoolers' attachment classifications: The Circle of Security Intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74. doi: 1017-26. 10.1037/0022-006X.74.6.1017.

The Circle of Security intervention uses a group treatment modality to provide parent education and psychotherapy that is based on attachment theory. The purpose of this study was to track changes in children's attachment classifications pre- and immediately postintervention.  As predicted, there were significant within-subject changes from disorganized to organized attachment classifications, with a majority changing to the secure classification. In addition, only 1 of the 13 preintervention securely attached children shifted to an insecure classification.

Milevsky, A., Schlechter, M., Netter, S., & Keehn, D. (2007). Maternal and paternal parenting styles in adolescents: Associations with self-esteem, depression and life-satisfaction. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 39-47. doi: 10.1007/s10826-006-9066-5. 

Our study examined variations in adolescent adjustment as a function of maternal and paternal parenting styles. Authoritative mothering was found to relate to higher self-esteem and life-satisfaction and to lower depression. Paternal parenting styles was also related to psychological adjustment, however, although the advantage of authoritative mothering over permissive mothering was evident for all outcomes assessed, for paternal styles the advantage was less defined and only evident for depression. 

Purvis, K. B., Razuri, E. B., Hiles Howard, A. R., Call, C. D., Hurst DeLuna, J., Hall, J. S., & Cross, D. R. (2015). Decrease in behavioral problems and trauma symptoms among at-risk adopted children following trauma- informed parent training intervention. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, doi: 10.1007/s40653-015-0055-y.

Children and youth who have experienced foster care or orphanage-rearing have often experienced complex developmental trauma, demonstrating an interactive set of psychological and behavioral issues. Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children. TBRI has been applied in orphanages, courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster and adoptive homes, churches, and schools. It has been used effectively with children and youth of all ages and all risk levels.

Sroufe, A. L. (2005). Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood. Attachment & Human Development, 7, 349-67. doi: 10.1080/14616730500365928. 

There is much to digest in a 30 year longitudinal study of the developing person. The following paper summarizes some key points regarding the place of infant attachment in the developmental course. It is argued that understanding the role of attachment entails grasping the organizational nature of the attachment construct and embracing a non-linear transactional model. Using such concepts, attachment history was shown in the Minnesota study to be clearly related to the growth of self-reliance, the capacity for emotional regulation, and the emergence and course of social competence, among other things. Moreover, specific patterns of attachment had implications for both normal development and pathology. Even more important than such linkages, however, study of the place of early attachment in later adaptation reveals much about developmental processes underlying both continuity and change.

Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (2010). Typologies of family functioning and children’s adjustment during the early school years. Child Development81(4), 1320–1335. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01471.x.

Guided by family systems theory, the present study sought to identify patterns of family functioning from observational assessments of interparental, parent-child, and triadic contexts. In addition, we charted the implications for patterns of family functioning for children’s developmental trajectories of adjustment in the school context across the early school years. Class analyses extracted three primary typologies of functioning including: (a) cohesive, (b) enmeshed, and (c) disengaged families. Family patterns were differentially associated with children’s maladaptive adjustment trajectories in the school context.