Darla Henry & Associates
In This Issue
New Programs!
Did you know we have a Groups Program and 
Resource Parent Program? 
Contact us to learn more about these programs.
Purchase the 3-5-7 Model© A Practice Approach to Permanency here.
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July/August  2015

Ah, summer time!

I hope that you are all enjoying the summer and all that it offers.  I have been away from home a great deal these last few months, bringing the 3-5-7 Model© to agencies and organizations in Missouri, Mississippi, and Nebraska, and attending and presenting at conferences in California and Denver.  Before we know it, fall will be here and before that happens I want to take some time to check in with all of you about a few summertime favorites as viewed through the lens of the 3-5-7 Model©.  I hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter and the remainder of your summer days!
To Include or Not to Include?  That is, the Vacation...
For many families, vacations are a time when parents and children can connect with each other in a less structured environment with less distractions and demands.  This continuity of time is hard to replicate in the day to day grind.  Many foster families are faced with making the decision about whether they should or should not take foster children on vacation.  We tend to think including foster children in family vacations is preferable for many reasons, but when families decide not to include their foster children they must be prepared for the reactions that are likely to result-the child's feelings of rejection and abandonment.
For more on this topic, check out this article,  The Pros of Including Foster Children in Your Family Vacation Plans:  

Here's another great resource for planning vacations with foster children.
Practicing the 7 Skills
Many parents take their children to the park and find a bench in the shade to sit and watch while their children run off and play.  But we think a good place to practice the 7 Skills of the 3-5-7 Model© is-you guessed it-the playground!  The next time you visit this popular summertime favo
rite with your child or a child you work with, use the opportunity to hone your skills.  Here are just a few examples of what we mean: 
  • Engaging-ask yourself: When faced with all the choices of activities, do I follow the lead of the child or am I quick to suggest my preferences, perhaps the monkey bars over the swings?  Allow the child to make all the decisions about what to play with, when and for how long.  And if you are truly up for a challenge, let the child decide when it is time to leave!
  • Listening-ask yourself: Do I tune into the stories being told by the child, no matter how nonsensical,  allowing myself to become enthralled in the tale or do I tune out when the chatter begins?  Children will often create and engage in imaginative play when visiting the park.  Allow yourself to go to that world too.  Be attentive to the stories they tell and the characters they create.  Be genuinely interested in learning about these alternate realities.
  • Being Present-ask yourself: Am I attentive to the child during our play time or am I using the time to multi-task?  Remember the time that you have together is just that-your time together.  Avoid catching up on phone calls or emails, making your grocery list or worse-checking your watch and wondering when you should suggest it's time to go.
These skills are important whenever we  have the opportunity to interact with youth, not just at the playground.  A simple way to remind yourself to attend to the skills is to post a note where you will frequently see it.  

Featured Activity & Book Recommendation

One great thing about summer weather in most places is the great opportunities that are provided to get moving and spend time outdoors.  Try going on a walk with your youth during your next session.  During your time together, ask them about what they notice around them.  Hear their stories.  Embrace the silent moments.  Challenge the youth to gather 5 items that represent something about them and ask them to share something about one of the items with you.  Whatever the conversation during your walk, use the time to continue to build the relationship with your youth.
If you are interested in learning even more about the healing benefits of walking, Walking Your Blues Away: How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being, by Thom Hartmann, is a great resource.  As the back cover of the book explains:

Walking--a bilateral therapy that has been a part of human life throughout history--allows people to heal emotionally as quickly as they do physically. Normally the brain converts our daily experiences into long-term memories. However, a traumatic experience can become "stuck" in the brain, unable to be stored as "memory" and persisting in the brain as if it were still a present-time event. Thom Hartmann explains that when we walk, which engages both sides of the body, we simultaneously activate both the left and right sides of the brain. This allows the brain's two hemispheres to join forces to break up brain patterning and allow the sufferer to release these distresses--from extreme but brief upsets to chronic conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. 

Enjoy the outdoors!