Claudia Herman Therapeutic Foster Carer, Teacher, Advocate.
I am a mum to two fabulous, neurodiverse superstars.
I have worked in education and fostering for over 25 years.
This has included supporting young people and their families
I have worked in a residential setting, worked as a child protection officer and worked as a SENDCo - special educational needs coordinator.
The service I provide, currently, includes delivering bespoke training to organisations, schools, parents and carers. I deliver 1:1 work with young people and adults. I also carry out small group work with young people and their parents or carers.
If you are an individual or an organisation wishing to move away from a 'behaviour management' model towards a 'trauma informed' model you have come to the right place.
What do I mean by 'trauma'?
I use 'trauma' as a broad term. Why? Well, one person's 'mild inconvenience' can be another person's 'trauma' and visa versa. Trauma is not competitive and there is little to be gained from attempting to measure trauma - in my opinion.
Factors affecting our perception of trauma include our protective or resilience factors and ACEs - Adverse Childhood Experiences.
Why are ACEs such a big deal? Surely, babies and young children forget stuff that happens to them?
There are memories we are able to verbalise. There are also memories that are not stored away verbally - from when we were pre-verbal - we didn't have the words. they are stored emotionally. We might have smells, textures, places, foods that bring us comfort, anxiety or distress for reasons that we are not able to put into words.
As we mature and begin to appreciate the complexity of human existence we realise its not all about us.
For babies and young children it is 'all about them'. So, when something bad, or something they perceive as being bad, happens to them the only explanation that makes any sense to them is that it it their fault. They're a bad person.
For example, a baby in special care or ICU can have no understanding that every time a medical professional carries out a procedure that is painful to them it is necessary in order to save their life. The only possible perception for the baby is that 'adults hurt me', 'I am bad'.
Fast forward to parents who have lived through their own trauma of fearing for the survival of their very ill child. They might be incredibly grateful for the good outcome that was achieved whilst unable to shake the fear that they lived with during that time. Plus, this incredibly cherished child might be presenting with challenging behaviours as a consequence of their own fear and confusion resulting from their traumatic experience of being very unwell.
What if your experience of becoming a parent was traumatic? What if, for reasons outside of your control, your parenthood dream was (or is) more like a nightmare?
You're probably beginning to see just how complex human beings can be and how relatively common experiences can impact on our emotional well being, sense of self and our relationships with those closest to us.
This is just one very small example.
Other perfectly 'normal' curve balls life tends to throw our way include, loss, bereavement, divorce, illness, life changes, neurodiversity, medical conditions.
It doesn't take much to wobble our sense of ourselves in the world and to wobble our attachments to others.
Be kind to yourself. It is not weak to seek support. Support makes us stronger.
Individual, Small Group Sessions and Training
I am able offer 1:1 support for children and adults. I prefer to work face to face with young people unless our relationship is extremely well established. For adults I am happy to provide 1:1 support by phone or skype if this is more convenient for reasons of time, geography, etc...
Training and Workshops
I am able to design and deliver bespoke training for organisations, including schools, groups of parents and carers, prospective foster carers, adopters and small groups of young people.
Sir William Romney School, Sept 2019
'Thank you Claudia for being so empathetic, professional and personable. The topic of attachment is so emotive but you handled it sensitively and empowered us to be able to continue to build positive relationships with all of our students. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and have come away inspired by your expertise. Thank you!'