Best Thing About the Job: Providing Hope

Adrianne Walschinski

I am the new Clinical Consultant-NMT Specialist for SaintA, providing child-specific assessments and recommendations through referrals to our clinical services program. NMT™, which stands for Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics, is a metric tool that was developed by trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry of the ChildTrauma Academy. It looks at the neurobiology, developmental history and current levels of functioning of a child to create a “picture” of the child’s brain functioning. This allows us to target specific therapeutic interventions based on this information and assists in directing treatment recommendations.In my role as the Clinical Consultant-NMT Specialist, I have the opportunity to interact with the child and the child’s team to provide developmental and/or trauma consultation.

The process consists of getting a thorough background of the child and family’s history, paying particular attention to adverse childhood experiences, assessing the child’s developmental level and current level of functioning in all settings. In addition, we typically will utilize the NMT metric tool as part of our assessment process. In order to do this, we speak with the child and the child’s team to obtain as much information as possible. Teams often consist of the parents/guardians, relatives, school staff, county staff workers and outside providers such as, the psychiatrist, outpatient therapist and occupational therapist.

While each of these children have various levels of need, I continue to be impressed with the commitment the child’s team has in wanting to do what is necessary to support the child the best way they can. The reality is there is often a historic cycle of abuse, neglect, mental health issues or substance abuse across generations. However, despite the child having adverse experiences, there are interventions that can be offered to address the neurobiological gaps that had occurred with those experiences.

In short, there is hope, and the child is not doomed to fail at such an early age.

Our director of Clinical Services, Sara Daniel, and I recently presented child-specific recommendations to a team, and after requesting feedback from the team, the special education teacher relayed, “That was the best two hours of training I’ve ever had. You and Sara rocked it. You clearly know what you’re talking about, and you offered specific things to do for (child).” And while I initially was thrilled to have had such impressive feedback, I was more pleased with the fact that we have managed to influence yet another group of individuals to change their perspective and make necessary changes in their approaches to this child. To know that we have helped them “get it” so they are now more trauma informed in their approaches and will offer interventions more proactively to truly help fill in the gaps for this child, that to me is even more gratifying.

SaintA’s drive to be trauma informed in our approaches and our mission to be a nationally recognized leader in behavioral health care allows us constant opportunities to positively impact a child’s life and continually influence those individuals who serve the child to approach interventions with a trauma informed mindset. I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this mission and look forward to ongoing opportunities to continue to influence individuals to have a trauma informed approach when working with children.

If you would like to inquire about a child-specific assessment or are looking for a general training for a team, please feel free to contact me at awalschinski@SaintA.org or go to our training page.

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