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On 11th May, Equilibrium with the assistance of the Municipality of Ruse and Anne Todorov organized a training on “Parenting children with developmental trauma, physical disabilities, cognitive delays and confusing behavior” with lecturer Darren Gagnon from the USA.

The training was attended by 40 people – foster parents, adoptive parents for whom this topic is extremely important, as well as social workers and psychologists from social services and institutions from Ruse and Byala.

The topic is always relevant and caring for children who have experienced trauma is a particularly difficult task with many challenges. Every child abandoned by their biological parents, no matter at what age, carries this trauma in the “wound on their back”. Children who have experienced divorce of their parents, previous abuse, whatever form it takes, the most severe according to the speaker is the trauma experienced by children experiencing neglect by their parents or carers are usually with problematic or challenging behaviour, and this worsens especially in the puberty years and this is a huge challenge for foster carers, adoptive parents and social care professionals.

The training provided interesting and stimulating case study discussions and Darren explained different approaches to dealing with these difficulties.

Darren is the co-founder and President of Lost Sparrows, a non-profit organization in the United States that provides families with support and education about the effects of childhood trauma. Darren has been the President of Lost Sparrows for 3 years and combines nearly 20 years of teaching experience with many years of experience raising children with developmental difficulties resulting from various types of trauma. Darren has trained thousands of foster parents, teachers and educators throughout the United States and Eastern Europe.

Darren and his wife Stacy have 7 children – two biological and five adopted. Two of his adopted children are from a large orphanage in Bulgaria and have disabilities. Darren’s years as a foster father (more than 10 years) and his experience as a middle school teacher give him a unique perspective and ability to understand and convey the effects of childhood trauma.