Berry Street believes that all children should have a good childhood, growing up feeling safe, nurtured and with hope for the future. They work directly with children, young people and families affected by the impact of family violence, substance abuse, mental illness, poverty and unemployment.
About Berry Street’s Take Two Program
Berry Street’s Take Two program is a Victoria-wide program funded by the State Government to provide intensive therapeutic services for children of all ages who have experienced serious abuse and neglect and who are child protection clients. Many, but not all, of these children are in out- of-home care.
Childhood trauma and neglect can lead to physical and emotional dysregulation that can mean a child or young person finds it difficult to feel in control of their own body, emotions and behaviours. One way of understanding and hence feeling more in control is through putting together the information we get from our senses. Traumatised children often have problems processing information coming in from the outside world from touch, smell, taste, sight and the way the body moves in space. Traumatised children can experience these senses in ways that aren’t always clear to others, and differences might not be apparent to the child either.
The need for a Mental Health Occupational Therapist
Developments in the field of neuroscience highlight the importance of better understanding the physical and sensory needs of infants, children and young people and the way these needs then interact with feelings and behaviours. With a better understanding, more comprehensive and better targeted interventions can be provided to help children heal from the trauma of abuse. The task of responding to children’s sensory needs requires new professional expertise from a Mental Health Occupational Therapist to complement the current Take Two workforce of psychologists, social workers and nurses.