Working with children who have been affected by trauma and/or prenatal exposure from drugs or alcohol is complicated and challenging.  Teaching and parenting these children is also stressful and can often feel like an uphill battle while pushing a huge sharp boulder and carrying a backpack full of ridiculous expectations. 

Sometimes it feels like we need inspiration to keep going.  I was just thinking today about how if it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a much bigger village to raise a complex child, but unfortunately in reality, the village tends to become much smaller.  Few people understand that children do their best and if their behaviour isn’t stellar, then likely something is going wrong inside.  Even when we do understand, figuring out WHAT is wrong is often perplexing.

As professionals, when we find people who can train us to do better work, or have better insight, or more compassion, we get very excited.  Two years ago, Kim Barthel ( came to Ottawa for the FASD Symposium and we all realized that she has a unique ability to collate many different aspects of neuroscience and trauma and attachment and communicate it in an interesting and approachable way.  We, and our colleagues, agree that our work has changed and improved because of things we have learned from Kim. 

This is why we have decided to invite Kim back to Ottawa to teach us about “Becoming a Behaviour Detective” this September.  We know that the caregivers and professionals working with children who have experienced trauma want help with understanding behaviour and supporting their children.  The best part about listening to Kim is that her vast experience and training can help us understand our own behaviour as well as the others around us. 

We hope to inspire our whole community to be more trauma aware and gain an understanding of the reasons behind complex behaviours we see in our families, our classrooms and our therapy rooms.  Our experience at OCATT shows us again and again that holding compassion is the most effective way to support and bring health into our relationships with our traumatized children. 

If you are interested in coming to the event, please register early because we expect the spaces to fill up quickly.  Hope to see you there!


There is always a reason for the behaviour! This one-day workshop will provide an understanding of the integrated neurobiology of sensory processing and emotional/relational problems that result in “challenging behaviour”. 

Participants will be invited to forevermore become behavioural detectives, using clinical reasoning, to look deeper than the surface.  By seeking to understand why people do the things we do, from a myriad of perspectives, we allow compassion into the equation. This alone changes the brain – but the mindset of clinical curiosity supports treatment strategies at home, at school and in all levels of relationships.

When: September 6, 2019 | 9:00 – 4:00 (registration at 8:30)
Location: Kanata Recreation Complex, 100 Charlie Rogers Place, Kanata
Cost: $150 (early bird price until June 30th, late registration cost is $175 until August 30th)

To Register, click here!