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Our resources are designed for anyone working with children exhibiting negative and challenging behaviors. Whether you are an auditory or visual learner, you will find a variety of resources to keep you growing and learning not only the science behind trauma but real-life "when the rubber hits the road" solutions!


Click on the titles that interest you to find out more. Be sure to continue scrolling down to see all the additional resources available to you beyond our books.

Daily Reflections

Plug and Play

 Help for Billy PD Day

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Lead your entire staff through a full-day training with this "plug and play" Google Slide deck. Make a copy and easily modify and adjust to meet your school's individual needs.

Plug and Play

Help for Billy Book Study 


Gather a small group together and take a deep-dive into "Help for Billy" with this book study slide deck. These videos will support each chapter's content and keep your group engaged.

"Fifty Shades of Trauma"
Short video series


Daily Reflections

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Shifting an entire paradigm takes hard work on a daily basis. It is easy to slip back to old patterns when we feel overwhelmed and scared. Sign up to receive a daily reflection in your email inbox for the next 100 days. Read, absorb, and implement a small amount of information each day to make life-long changes without feeling overwhelmed.

For Educators

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For Parents

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TISConversations - PODCAST


Trauma Informed School Conversations (TISConversations) is a podcast series to give you the free support you need during this pandemic. Each session's topic is a relevant subject with an in-depth discussion that goes beyond the surface solutions everyone else is giving. Join Heather as she interviews special guests to pull back the curtain on the challenges brought on as a result of a once in a one-hundred -year event.

Free Articles

Free Articles


Parenting Beyond Consequences

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

Children need unconditional love and unconditional acceptance from their parents; we all know this and believe this. However, do we ever stop to consider how so many of the traditional parenting techniques accepted in our culture work contrary to the primal goal? Traditional parenting techniques that involve consequences, controlling directives, and punishment are fear-based and fear-driven. They have the ability to undermine the parent-child relationship and because they are tied into behaviors, children easily interpret these actions to mean, "If I'm not good, I am not lovable." Thus, children often build a subconscious foundation that says that love and approval is... Read More >

Issues Facing Adoptive Mothers

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, Adoption Today, 2014

Abstract Summary: Intensive interviews were conducted with 14 adoptive mothers, which identified 16 challenges adoptive mothers face when adopting children with special needs. The purpose was to specify and understand the issues these mothers of special needs children present when seeking professional therapy. The intent was also to increase awareness in the field of adoption. Findings: Findings indicated that these adoptive mothers were faced with a broad range of issues relating to societal, health, emotional, family, financial, and child behavioral factors. Read More >

Teenagers, Trauma, and Trusting in the Power of Relationship

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, Fostering Families Today, 2009

"Oh! Teenagers!" Have you ever found yourself saying this or over-heard another parent saying this with an exasperated tone in her voice?

Raising teenagers takes parents to a while new level. In order to rise to this occasion without exasperation and frustration, it takes understanding our teenagers at an entirely new level. This is especially true for foster parents raising teenagers, who have experienced traumatic and unpredictable childhoods prior to being in their homes. The following are four important factors... Read More >

Re-Examining Play

Therapy - with the Parents

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW & Sophie Fziegielewski, PhD, LCSW, Accredited Continuing Education Training, 2004

Play therapy has been viewed as a traditional recommendation for therapeutic help, or when a child is in a crisis or a parent is having behavioral difficulties with the child. Allowing a child to play out stress within a controlled therapeutic play environment with the help of a therapist has been an accepted model of treatment. While play therapy has often been seen as a model of choice, the authors suggest this approach is restrictive and limiting because i does not include parental participation. It is suggested that serious consideration always be given to include the parent's direct participation in a... Read More >

Reactive Attachment Disorder: A New Understanding

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is a mental health diagnosis listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IVTR) under disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy, childhood, or adolescence. RAD was initially introduced to the mental health community some 20 years ago. Since that time, much of the information regarding this disorder has painted a dismal and often dangerous picture of these children. Books and articles have compared children with RAD to serial killers, rapists, and hard-core criminals. Intensive and often physically aggressive therapies have been... Read More >

Teaching Trauma in the Classroom


Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, Focus on Adoption, 2013

Children are vulnerable. In an optimal environment, they are not expected to experience this vulnerability until later in life when their minds and nervous systems are equipped to handle elevated levels of fear, stress, and overwhelm. Yet, the key phrase here is "optimal environment." Unfortunately, we live in the "real" world, so children will often find themselves in situations that are far from the optimal and the result can be childhood trauma. Childhood trauma happens at both the emotional and psychological level and it can have a negative impact on the child's developmental process. During a trauma event (abuse, neglect, adoption, birth trauma, etc.)... Read More >

Adoption: What Would Drive a Mother to Do the Unthinkable?

Heather T. Forbes, LCSWsubmitted to the New York Times Op-Ed Sept 2011

David Polreis, Logan Higgingbotham, Luke Evans, Jacob Lindorff, Maria just some of the 15 adopted Russian children killed in the U.S. at the hands of their adoptive parents since 1996.

And now, Justin Hansen...sent back to Russia without love. What would drive a mother to do the unthinkable? Torry Hansen's story is not an isolated case. In fact, it's much more common than we'd like to believe. In a research study of adoptive mothers, 93% stated they had at times, turned into a hateful and miserable...           Read More >

Effective Back-to-SchoolStrategies for Parents

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

Who has more fear about heading back to school, you or your child? If we're honest with this question, we find that as parents we become overwhelmed at many different levels. "Will my child's teacher(s) understand him or simply react to him?" "How can I get the school to see my child as a traumatized child, not a defiant child?" "How am I going to maintain my work if the school keeps calling me like they did las year?" "What are the afternoons going to be like once homework starts up again..Oh, goodness!"

And the list goes on and on. Past experiences with schools have been negative for ... Read More >

Attachment and Adoption

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

Before understanding the extent of the specific issues, it is important to acknowledge that adoptive parenting of a child with special needs is different from parenting a child without special needs. Although adoptive parents may face many of the same child-rearing issues as biological parents, adoptive parents of children with special needs face numerous issues related directly to traumatic experiences of the child. Adoptive parents often find that this significantly alters the balance of the family system, resulting in overt stress and disequilibrium, sometimes to the extent that the child is returned to foster care or to the adoption agency. The demands and stress that result... Read More >

The Power of Parenting

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

A couple of days ago, I was attending a small group meeting and in order to introduce a few new members at this group, an ice breaker was given. We were asked to go around the room and in the spirit of Labor Day, tell not what we did for a living but what our parents did for a living when we were growing up. Several of the participants, after describing their credentialed careers of high cultural status of their fathers remarked, "But my mom was just a housewife."

Just a housewife! How sad I was to hear this coming from grown men and women who had their mothers home with them, support them, guide them, and teach them around the clock. Parenting is the most... Read More >

Why Tokens Aren't Working

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, Adoption Today, 2014

"If you finish your chores today, you'll earn 5 more tokens and that will help you get your goal of 25 by the weekend, Billy!" And Billy turns to his mother and says, "It's your damn house, you do the f***ing chores!", slams his door, and remains in his room the rest of the day.

Using tokens as rewards or motivators for our adopted or foster children not only does not work, it often makes it worse. There are several reasons for this, all of which stem from one word: Trauma. Trauma. Any child who has lost his biological family, either temporarily or permanently, has experienced trauma. The event or events that led to this trauma were experiences... Read More >

Your Child is Misbehaving, Are You Listening?

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, Fostering Families Today, 2014

When reviewing records of many of the children with whom I work, I am forever perplexed at one particular notation I continually see written by therapists and counselors. Under the list of negative traits of the child, it is often written, "Child exhibits attention-seeking behaviors." I strongly believe that children seek attention because they NEED attention. Nature has designed children to be completely dependent on their parents at the moment they are born. A baby crying is the signaling to the parent the baby has a need, a need that the baby cannot satisfy on his own. The baby is indeed exhibiting attention-seeking behaviors... Read More >

Attachment Disorders

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW

An attachment disorder occurs when a child (or adult) has difficulty connecting in an interpersonal relationship with his/her attachment figure (for a child this would be the child's caretaker - parent, grandparent, etc.) Children develop attachment challenges when their early life experiences are challenged by parents and caretakers who are too stressed and dysregulated to stay attuned to the child's signals for needs. Babies and young children do not have a regulatory system equipped to calm themselves or to self-soothe. It is the parent's biological responsibility to provide this regulatory presence for a child. If the child goes without this calming parental presence, the child's... Read More >

Going Beyond the Behaviors: How to Heal from the Impact of Early Trauma

Heather T. Forbes, LCSW, Adoption Now, 2008

In order to understand the meaning of tall, we need to understand the meaning of short. To know if something is hot, we must be familiar with something that is cold. Likewise, good is relative to bad, wet is relative to dry, and happy is relative to sad. The same is true in understanding the impact of early childhood trauma and abuse on a child. We need to first understand the impact of positive early childhood experiences in order to understand the impact of negative early childhood experiences. With the comparison of this information, we can have insight into knowing how to parent and connect with a child who... Read More >

In-Depth Q&A

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  • How many Log In codes and Usernames does my team get?
    Your participation in The Trauma-Informed Online Academy grants your school unlimited ID’s and Passwords for all staff (teachers, administrators, substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, etc.). You will also be provided with 10 extra codes specifically for parents who are currently dealing with trauma in their families.
  • Are all of the schools within my district provided with User ID's and Passwords?
    Unfortunately not, unless they have also enrolled in The Trauma-Informed Online Academy.
  • My "Current Course" is empty, what do I do? "
    If you are the Leader of the team, it is up to you to build a course for your team. While it may seem daunting there are a plethora of templates available for your use. You are also welcome to create from scratch. You know your team and it's needs best so have fun with this. If you are a team member, please contact your one of your leaders.
  • Will completing courses count as CEU's?
    Unfortunately no. However, you do recieve a certificate of completion.
  • What if there are scenarios not covered?
    If you would like to see a topic covered that was not covered, please contact _________. Our team is continuously working to enhance our platform and include a wider range of topics. We want your teams to be the most up-to-date in Trauma-Informed teaching.
  • Will you be developing a system in which we can connect globally?
    We do hope to expand our program in the future to allow global communication with schools enrolled in The Academy but have no date at this time.
  • Will Heather T. Forbes and Jim Sporleder be engaging?
    Yes!! They hope to be able to engage with the schools enrolled in the Trauma-Informed Academy! While we don't know exactly what this looks like at this point in time, stay tuned because it is in the works.
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