Let’s Learn Together
School training for supporting the needs of children who have been adopted in the classroom

TESSA training was excellent. Aim to ensure all schools and teacher training colleges in N. Ireland access this training! – Co. Down teacher. 

Children with a history of trauma and attachment difficulties often struggle to learn and are challenging to teach. Understanding the importance of attachment in child development can help teachers, classroom assistants and other school staff support a child’s emotional regulation, behaviour and learning, resulting in fewer meltdowns, better outcomes, and a calmer school environment.

TESSA can fund a two-hour training session to schools in attachment and developmental trauma and, if required, strategies and services to support individual children with specific issues. To qualify for the service, schools need to have at least one adopted child on their register, age 12 years or younger. Feedback from these training sessions indicates that the content of the course applies to many other non-adopted children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Topics included on training session:

  • Why school can be challenging for children and young people who have been adopted or have experienced care.
  • How difficulties such as poor concentration, low motivation, anxiety, disengagement, aggression, defiance, and school refusal can be understood in terms of trauma and attachment difficulties.
  • Simple effective strategies to help parents, carers, teachers and learning support assistants manage behaviour and support learning.



Therapeutic Parenting Courses

“When our little people are overwhelmed by BIG emotions it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos”

LR Knost

We offer training in therapeutic parenting because learning to parent therapeutically is the single most important thing you can do to help your adopted child. Support and therapeutic services can provide help at critical times and with specific aspects of adoption, but it is the everyday interventions of parents, teachers and child carers that have the most power to transform a child’s life.

Much of traditional parenting assumes that a child feels safe at home and trusts their parents and their motives to care for and discipline them. This style of parenting also assumes that children learn from consequences, are able to do a lot for themselves, and accept their parents’ values, ideals, and goals. For adopted children these assumptions are wrong. Our children have had experiences that young children should never have to go through. They have felt scared and alone, been abandoned, hurt or hungry early in life and they’ve had no choice but to adapt to survive these experiences.

When our children come to live with us, these adaptations show up as difficult behaviours that make it hard for us to care for them. This is especially challenging when a child appears to not need us and won’t allow us to love them. We believe that therapeutic parenting can help build and nurture these connections into a way that allows our children to accept our efforts to parent and love them.



Therapeutic parenting is an intensive type of parenting based on high structure, high nurture, empathy and acceptance. It is aimed at connecting with a traumatised child so they can feel safe enough to begin to heal and attach.

Tips for therapeutic parents

  • Don’t take your child’s behaviour personally – it’s not about you, it’s about what happened to them.
  • Take care of yourself and your relationships
  • Treat yourself with the same patience and care you show your child.
  • Remember that a traumatised child’s behaviours are based in fear or shame, even though they look like anger, aggression, and rejection.
  • Remaining regulated and positive is the key to being in charge of your home.
  • If your child’s behaviour triggers emotional issues for you get counselling for yourself (and for your marriage/relationship).
  • Look to other adoptive parents for support.
  • Give yourself a break.

Love And Rage

Why are so many adopted children verbally or physically aggressive? 
What are they communicating through their behaviour?
What is the impact of living with a traumatised child?
How do we stay calm in the face of our children’s overwhelmed and overwhelming emotions?

If you have often wondered these questions as a parent, to child who has been adopted, then you should consider attending our Love and Rage course. Love and Rage is a six-week programme for parents of adopted children to explore these frequently asked questions. This course is aimed at parents of children who are struggling to handle and process their big emotions such as rage and anger.


As children get older and grow bigger, their aggressive behaviours can continue to grow and get bigger too. Aggression is a commonly reported challenge for many families who have an adopted child(ren). This programme is tailored to meet the needs of these parents, in a safe, non-judgemental way, to explore how we connect to the child who seems unreachable at times and to provide support when things are feeling overwhelming on your parenting journey.

This is a six week programme, delivered weekly in two hour group sessions.