Louise Bomber's book is an insightful, inspirational, clear and practical manual which entirely fulfils its aims. Born out of the knowledge and skill acquired through her experiences as both a teacher and a therapist, as well as a genuine desire to improve the educational, social and emotional experiences, of children who suffer Attachment Difficulties, she emphasises throughout that all of us involved in their support must be `gentle with our strength, strong with our gentleness.' She stresses the need for open , regular communication and non-judgemental collaborative support between all the adults involved in supporting and nurturing these children.
Her style of writing is an echo of her watchword for how to handle this group of children: She metaphorically takes the reader's hand in a way which inspires and fuels hope in being able to make a positive difference to the lives of children who have suffered trauma and abuse, whilst at the same time being realistic about the demands and stress which can occur in being the Key Adult for one of these children.
After an explanation of the three main types of Attachment Disorder and their possible causes, she takes the reader, step by step, through practical ways of supporting these children during all the key aspects of school, explaining when and why these children may experience difficulties. She includes the day to day access of the curriculum and gives a lot of emphasis to the all important beginning of the day, particular aspects of the school year, year to year transitions, including primary to secondary, as well as examining key events in the child's personal life in terms of their impact on potential learning and the additional preparation needed to support the child at these times.
As well as strategies for the person she describes as the `Key Adult' assigned to work alongside a particular child in lessons, she also includes sections on other areas of school life : These include dealing with peer questioning about the extra support being given to a pupil and the crucial task of supporting the child's social interactions which she recognises should be integral to the Key Adult`s work with the child and not simply an extra.
She makes an especial plea to recognise the particular problems of the adopted child by placing them on the SEN register and understanding that their trauma is far from over once they are placed with a permanent family.
Her book is aimed at teachers, learning support staff ,including learning mentors, but she also makes reference to parents in terms of the home-school collaboration as well as other agencies including CAMHS, Child and Family and Educational Psychologists. I would recommend it to anyone involved in any capacity with the support and nurture of children with an Attachment Disorder. Furthermore, if such highlighting of awareness and these practical and clearly effective strategies are not yet included as a part of the annual INSET programme in schools, it is my belief that it is time that they were.
Review by Karen Lomas, BA Hons, PGCE (Former teacher with 25 years experience and adoptive mother of an 11 year old daughter with a severe Attachment Disorder)