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When the bottom drops out

when-the-bottom-drops-outImagine that there are four people about to get on a ride at the State Fair. It’s the Graviton, the ride where you stand up against the wall with a thin chain hooked loosely in front of you and the ride starts spinning and spinning, faster and faster and then it tilts and the bottom drops out. The only thing that’s holding you in is the centrifugal force of the ride.

One of the people has been on this ride before and knows how it works and loves how it works. That person remains calm. They get off the ride and they’re fine. We’ll call that person A.

The other person hasn’t been on the ride before but assumes that the people running the park know what they’re doing. That person feels nervous. They get off the ride and they’re fine if a little shaky. We’ll call that person B.

The third person doesn’t trust the park owners and thinks that when the bottom drops away that the ride has broken. They’re afraid for their life. They get off the ride sobbing and are greeted by warm, loving friends who embrace them and comfort them. That person is C.

The fourth person doesn’t trust the park owners either and believes the ride has broken, too. Think think they are about to die. When they get off the ride, there is no one there to greet them and they feel miserably alone and abandoned. That person is D.

All four people were on the same ride. All four people had fundamentally different experiences.

Here is the definition of trauma: If you are fearful for your life or the lives of those around you.

It doesn’t matter if the ride was safe if a person does not perceive it as safe. (As an aside? I was told by my mom all of my growing up that those State Fair rides aren’t safe. There is no way I’d get on the Graviton and if I accidentally did? I’d be person C.)

A is going to be fine because they liked the ride, they liked how it worked and how it felt. B is going to be ok, as well, because B has faith that the people in charge know what they’re doing. C will likely be all right, too, because C is immediately surrounded by people who validate their experience and offer comfort and support. But D? D is not going to be OK because what mitigates trauma (and even if this does not look traumatic to everyone there and wasn’t experienced as trauma by everyone there, for D it was) is connection and D has no one to connect with.

This is my message to you. We do not get to decide when people get to be afraid or what their experiences ought to be. There are people in our community who are afraid right now; maybe you are afraid right now. It doesn’t matter if person A or B doesn’t get it; you have a right to your feelings. And what you need — what we need — is to find each other. Mr. Rogers says to look for the helpers and now is the time to do that and now is also the time to be the helpers.

If you are person C or D, please reach out. Find your safe people and start planning some specific ways you can spend time together. There are lots of ways to create good, solid connections and sometimes that’s coffee together, sometimes that’s phone calls, sometimes that’s joining together and organizing, and sometimes it’s joining together to help someone else. We need each other to mitigate our fear when the bottom drops out.

If you are person A or B, please understand that your experience is not everyone’s experience. You may not be afraid, you may even be having fun but we are a community and we must recognize that many people in our community are suffering.

To that end, I am partnering with Columbus Birth & Parenting to host a supportive gathering this Sunday in our offices from 10am to 2pm. We have no idea how many people will be here and we don’t have an agenda; just some ideas to give people space to feel validated and supported. Because the event has gotten larger than we anticipated and because some people who can’t attend would like to feel included, we will be using #hopeandaction on social media to find each other. We encourage you to Tweet, Facebook or Instagram using that hashtag on Sunday in order to connect with like-minded people near you to create and strengthen community ties. If you are currently a client, please know that you are invited, too. I will not acknowledge our connection and will respect your confidentiality but I will welcome your participation. If the fact that I’m hosting this event feels uncomfortable to you, please let me know and we can talk about it. I respect that my clients have diverse experiences, backgrounds and beliefs and want you to know that I support you, period.

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Upcoming Community Events

I wanted to share some events that are coming up around the community.

From the Coalition of Adoptive Families:

Rejection and Grief: Feelings Unspoken

It is common for adoptees to experience feelings of rejection and grief but sometimes the connection is not made to resulting depression, anxiety, and lack of self esteem.   Learn how adoption related loss can affect your child.

Guest Speaker:  Theresa Tammy Gaser, MSSA, LISW-S, CTS – Trinity Family Counseling, Westerville

Tammy is certified as a Trauma and Loss Clinical Specialist by The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC).  Throughout her career she has provided training seminars on child abuse and neglect, developed treatment plans, and provided consultation services for survivors of various types of trauma and grief/loss, including events such as sexual/physical abuse and environmental/community trauma.  Tammy enjoys equipping patients with effective behavioral strategies to deal with various behavior management concerns (volatile and threatening aggressive behavior) and anxiety/stress management. She also provides individual therapy for children, teens, and adults with delays in executive functioning, emotional expression, and/or development, and for those with Attachment Disorders and Oppositional Defiant Disorders.

Date/Time:   May 20, 2015, 7:00 p.m.8:30 p.m.

Location: 1550 Old Henderson Rd., Suite N 162,  Columbus, OH 43220. Entrance, and parking, are on the North side rear, of the building.

More information and online registration: Rejection and Grief: Feelings Unspoken

From IMPACT Safety:

Own Your Own Voice Verbal Defense Workshop

IMPACT Safety teaches a unique form of self-defense and personal safety. You will learn IMPACT Safety’s strategies for dealing with difficult situations—whether a stranger who means you harm, a friend, coworker, or acquaintance. You will have the opportunity to learn and practice powerful verbal skills for many everyday situations. The goal of every IMPACT Safety program is to increase our choices so we may live in the world more freely.

Class Size Is Limited • Registration Required

Two Sessions Available

Morning Session
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Time: 9:00 am—12:00 noon
Location: LifeCare Alliance Event Center
670 Harmon Avenue
Columbus, OH 43223
Cost: $75.00
Click here to register for the AM SESSION.

Afternoon Session
Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Time: 2:00 pm—5:00 pm
Location: LifeCare Alliance Event Center
670 Harmon Avenue
Columbus, OH 43223
Cost: $75.00
Click here to register for the PM SESSION.

From Cornerstone of Recovery

Camp Memory is a day camp which will be held Tuesday, June 23rd-Thursday, June 25th from 8:30am- 12:00pm at Cornerstone of Hope in Columbus, Ohio for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Drop off and breakfast will start at 8:00am and camp will be from 9:00am and go until 12:00pm. We will have a “littles” group for children ages 6-9 and a “middles” group for children 10-13. It is designed to help children share their grief experiences in fun and creative ways. Children are divided into groups by age for most activities.

Learn more by going here.

 

Upcoming Developmental Screenings for Kids 0 to 5

bottlebaby-insideWay back when, back when Hector was a pup and I had a lot less gray hair I used to schedule screenings like this at the YWCA in Portland. Now I’m sharing this with you but you gotta get on it — the screenings happen this Wednesday. If you can’t make it then give the ECRN+ a call and find out when they might be happening in the future.

Child Developmental Screenings – Mind and Body

Wednesday, January 28th 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Grove City YMCA – 3600 Discovery Drive, Grove City, OH 43123

What is a developmental screening?

A developmental screening is a snap shot look at a child’s development to determine if a child is reaching appropriate milestones. Your child’s social-emotional development (mental health) is an essential part of their overall growth. Mental health in childhood simply means reaching developmental and emotional milestones and learning healthy social and coping skills. Children with good social-emotional skills function well at home, in school and in their communities. In addition to their social-emotional screening, your child’s speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, self-help skills, vision, and hearing will also be checked.

Thanks to the generous support of The Columbus Foundation, the Early Childhood Resource Network+ will be providing FREE screenings to all children ages 1 month through 5 years. Screening appointments are not necessary but encouraged.

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT OR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Katie Lombardi or Margie Dalton—Developmental Consultants 614-543-9000 ext. 218 or klombardi@ymcacolumbus.org

EARLY CHILDHOOD RESOURCE NETWORK+
6555 Busch Blvd, Suite 112, Columbus OH 43229 614.543.9000 ymcacolumbus.org/ecrn

A workshop for adopted children this October

allsmiles-insideI will be facilitating a workshop in partnership with the Central Ohio Families with Children from China. There are three tracks available and I encourage you to contact COFCC if you are interested in learning which one might be appropriate for your child. (Note: This workshop is open to children who have been adopted from other countries or domestically.)

POWER OF “ME” is a workshop for children with the goal of empowering its participants with the skills necessary to enhance their development in a fun and friendly environment.

Track A – W.I.S.E. Up! (9:30 – 11:30)

For children, in Kindergarten and up, who have not taken WISE UP before, or would benefit from a refresher course.  W.I.S.E. Up! provides a simple, but powerful way,  for adopted children and their siblings, to handle comments and personal questions about their adoption journey and their family.

Presenter/Facilitator – Vickie Hobensack, CPNP-PC

Track B – “MY” Life Book (9:30-11:30)

For those who already took W.I.S.E. Up! Children will have the opportunity to work on their own adoption story, their own life book!  Their adoption stories in their own words.

Presenter/Facilitator – Dawn Friedman, MSEd, LPCC-CR

NOTE:  Make sure your child knows his/her adoption story. Once you sign up, a list of photos  suggested for the session will be emailed to you.

Track C – Tweens & Teens (9:30 – 11:30)

Annie was 8 when she started school in the USA.  She had to adjust, fit in and learn to navigate an all new world.  She, and others, will share how they made it thru the tween and teen years.

Presenter/Facilitator – Annie Chen

COFCC Children:  $20 per child

Non-COFCC Children:   $25 per child

To Register, please go to the COFFCC website here.

Parenting Kids with Special Needs? Here’s a Great Columbus Resource

I’m a huge fan of parents supporting parents and I know that most especially when it comes to parenting kids with special needs it’s vital to connect with other families who can help you find resources; navigate your options; and support your whole family in your journey. The Early Childhood Resource Network+ operates in North Columbus and offers an equipment lending library, support groups and information. Next month there’s a Back to School event, which would be a great time to get to know this wonderful resource. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Amanda Biel at 614-543-9000 x215 or abiel@ymcacolumbus.org.

Special Needs Family Support Group

Brought to you by ECRN+

Join us for an informal monthly gathering held in an environment for families to foster connections and networking opportunities with other families of children with special needs. We offer a place to help families of exceptional children meet their unique challenges through advocacy and peer support. Typically our meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month at ECRN+ office located at 6555 Busch Blvd, Suite 112, Columbus, Ohio. Occasionally we will come together on other dates or at different venues. Please call to confirm next month’s details or check facebook.com/ecrnplus for the latest updates!

WHO

Parents, family members and guardians of children with special needs. Both YMCA Members and Non-Members are welcome!
WHEN

Thursday, September 18th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm

(Note: Meeting held on the third Thursday this month due to back to school season)
WHERE

JASONS DELI – 1122 Gemini Place, Columbus, OH 43240

(Located directly across from Rave Motion Pictures, Polaris Mall)
MONTHLY AGENDA

Parent’s night out! The kids are back in school! You did it and it’s time for YOU to take a breather! Join us this month for some relaxation & emotional support in the company of other families who truly understand the unique struggles and celebrations of raising a child with special needs.
COST & MISC INFO

First order of single soft drinks, coffee or tea will be provided.

Further yummy food purchases are at your expense.

Not hungry? No problem! Fellowship & Friendship – Always free!

No formal childcare is available but children are always welcome.
RSVP & QUESTIONS

Amanda Biel, ECRN+ Family Support Specialist

Phone: 614-543-9000 x215

Email: abiel@ymcacolumbus.org

Facebook: facebook.com/ecrnplus

Free Car Seats and Car Seat Checks at Neighborhood Health Fair

car seat checksOn Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at the Westside Health Center, 2300 West Broad, Columbus, OH from 11am to 3pm the Westside Health Center in partnership with the City of Columbus, the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, and Columbus Public Health will be giving car seats to low income residents and offering car seat checks to anyone who needs them.

Health Fair events include:

  • Free Car Seats & Installation
  • Free Health Screenings
  • Health & Wellness Giveaways
  • Games with OSU Mobile Tour &
  • Expedition Fit Kids
  • Health and Wellness Resources
  • Music and Prizes
  • Healthy Nutritious Snacks

You must be registered and attend one of the class times listed to receive your car seat: 11:30am -12:30pm or 1:30pm-2:30pm Call the Westside Neighborhood Health Center for more information (614) 645-2300.

The celebration continues all that week with the following events:

August 11– Monday- Columbus Neighborhood Health, Center Tour

August 12– Tuesday- Westside Health Center, Free Car Seat Installation and Health Fair

August 13– Wednesday- East Central Health Center, National Homeless Awareness Day

August 14– Thursday-Northeast Health Center, Patient Appreciation Day

August 15– Friday- All Health Center sites, National Health Center week

August 16– Saturday- John Maloney Health & Wellness Center: Healthy BBQ Community Celebration 12p-4p

 

 

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