Life Story Book: Celebration of Me a guided workbook for children and adolescents Workbook for Caseworkers



Download 1.72 Mb.
Date10.12.2016
Size1.72 Mb.

Meredith Beck

CDHS



Life Story Book:
Celebration of Me
A guided workbook for children and adolescents




Workbook for Caseworkers
This workbook offers instruction and suggestions for creating lifebooks for children and adolescents both in foster care or adopted families.
Why create a Lifebook?
A life history book gives value to the child’s story from when they first entered the world. It helps to have important memories all in one place so that the child can feel connected to others.
Lifebooks can provide the script for discussion about a child’s past and present. Many times, discussion of foster care and adoption is difficult. Having a lifebook available to reference validates the experiences the child has had as opposed to creating a feeling of shame or embarrassment.
Every child wants to hear stories about themselves from years past. A lifebook keeps those stories safe as the child grows.
As research shows, identify formation is a critical part of development. A lifebook provides a tangible reference for a child to rely on aids in the creation of “roots” or a foundation that the child can grow from.
Attachment-related issues are very common with foster care and adoptive children (e.g. depression, substance abuse, academic performance, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, etc.). Lifebooks are a therapeutic approach to addressing these issues before they become problems.
A lifebook is a gift that will last a lifetime for a child. It can provide a sense of security, a gateway for discussion, and a tool for growth and healing. Maintaining a record of information about a child has eternal value.

How to Start

Visitation is a wonderful opportunity to begin building a lifebook. It is a structured activity that helps connect a parent and child, and is a way to make the most of their time together. Using the lifebook activities during visitation hours when it is only the child and caseworker is a great opportunity to build rapport, offer a sense of stability for the child, and work on something very special.
Pages can be added or removed as necessary. Typing stories recorded during meetings is recommended if possible.
It is not required that the pages are filled out in any order, though the earlier pages may be easier to use to build rapport and gather information.
Notes on Age Appropriateness:
Lifebooks are appropriate for everyone! Working with an infant or toddler means some adjustment in the activities, but the earlier started the better. A lifebook created for a younger child may be shorter and less detailed, but extra pages and activities can be included to be filled in later.

Materials and Suggestions

*Keeping a box of tissues is recommended in case of any tears (happy or sad) that might appear as a result of lifebook conversations.

Starting

The following worksheets are designed as conversation starters, jumping points, and idea generators. Every experience is unique; it is important to let the owner of the lifebook choose what directions to go in. Using more structured activities and topics may be helpful for working with younger children, or building rapport with adolescents.

A lifebook make be an overwhelming project if just handed over to a child or teen. Spend some time explaining the benefits of creating a written history, and start slow. The end product is not necessarily more important that the process of putting the memories together. Take plenty of time and don’t rush. Starting out by explain the lifebook and making the lifebook promise is a good chance to get everyone involved excited.

Photos

Collecting photos from the child’s earlier life may be difficult depending on circumstances. If there are not photos available for certain times, encourage the child to draw a picture or choose one from a magazine.



Documents
Including copies of documents such as birth certificates, birth records, etc. may not be exciting for the child, but choosing a few very important records may be valued in the future.
What to do with photos, documents, etc. that don’t go in the lifebook:

Using a box such as a shoebox that can be decorated by the child is a way to create a memory box that the child can keep throughout his or her life.


Supplies

Paper! Everyone involved in creating the lifebook has the responsibility to record during lifebook sessions. Allow children to draw or write while sharing their stories. Providing crayons, markers, pens, or pencils gives the child a way to feel more comfortable talking about things that may not feel good. Adults assisting in the lifebook should record the stories that the child shares, and/or write the stories that parents share. These notes can be re-copied or typed when assembling the lifebook.

Other supplies are optional, and may depend on the resources available. Ideas include magazines, scissors, glue, stickers, self-adhesive photo corners, camera (to take current pictures of the child), etc.

Roadblocks


Foster care and adoption can be complicated issues to discuss with children and adolescents. While working on a lifebook, questions may arise that the adult assistant should be prepared for.
What do you call the birth family? Choose a name that is comfortable and will be used consistently.

  • By given name (Kate Smith, Ms. Smith, The Smith’s)

  • Tummy Mommy


  • First Mother

  • Old Family

  • Biological Family

  • Birthday Mother

Some common questions that may come up:



  • Why am I not with my birth family?

  • Do I have siblings who live with my birth family?

  • Did I do something wrong?

Things to keep in mind when answering questions:



  • Honesty is very important; consider the developmental appropriateness of information shared. It’s best to offer basic information and fill in details as the child gets older, as opposed to giving fictional stories.

  • It is important to frame family histories in a positive light. Children will more often than not defend birthparents or feel protective of them, so be mindful of delicate emotions surrounding any shared information.

  • Keep it simple!

Suggestions for responding:



  • Birthparents love their children, but sometimes struggle. Parents who make an adoption plan may not be ready to be parents, may be too young, and may not be able to take the best care of a child (or even themselves) at some point. Adoption plans may feel like punishment, when really they are made out of love.

The Lifebook Promise


This is a very special book. Raise your right and promise the following:


  • I promise not to eat messy foods while reading my lifebook.




  • I promise to let an adult keep it in a safe place for now (but I can ask to see it whenever I need to).



  • I promise to show it only to people I trust. These are people who I like and who like me and treat me well. The pages in this book aren’t secrets, but I have the right to keep them private. I can use my mini-lifebook to share some things with my friends and teachers, and save my big lifebook for very special people.




My Journal

Journal pages are space for you to share your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in words, drawings, photos, magazine or newspaper clippings, etc. This is your lifebook, make it your own!


My Lifebook

Name___________________________________________



My Journal



Picture Collage

Include a collage of current photos or drawings with captions describing each.

My Journal

All About ME!


Today is:

I am _______ years old.

I go to ____________________________________ school.

I want to be a _____________________________________ when I grow up.

Some of my favorite things are:

My favorite subject:

My favorite book:

My favorite TV show:

My favorite field trip:

My favorite stuffed animal:

My favorite place:

My favorite color:

My favorite food:

My favorite animal:

My favorite number:

My favorite game:

My favorite musical group:

My favorite song:

My favorite things to do:

My favorite thing that happened this year:

My Journal

All About ME!

Today is:

I am _______ years old.

I go to ____________________________________ school.

I want to be a _____________________________________ when I grow up.

Some of my favorite things are:

My favorite subject:

My favorite book:

My favorite TV show:

My favorite field trip:

My favorite stuffed animal:

My favorite place:

My favorite color:

My favorite food:

My favorite animal:

My favorite number:

My favorite game:

My favorite musical group:

My favorite song:

My favorite things to do:

My favorite thing that happened this year:

My Journal

All About ME!

Today is:

I am _______ years old.

I go to ____________________________________ school.

I want to be a _____________________________________ when I grow up.

Some of my favorite things are:

My favorite subject:

My favorite book:

My favorite TV show:

My favorite field trip:

My favorite stuffed animal:

My favorite place:

My favorite color:

My favorite food:

My favorite animal:

My favorite number:

My favorite game:

My favorite musical group:

My favorite song:

My favorite things to do:

My favorite thing that happened this year:

My Journal

All About ME!

Today is:

I am _______ years old.


Three things I like to do are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I don’t like are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I like about me are:

1.

2.



3.

My Journal

All About ME!

Today is:

I am _______ years old.
Three things I like to do are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I don’t like are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I like about me are:

1.

2.



3.

My Journal

All About ME!

Today is:

I am _______ years old.
Three things I like to do are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I don’t like are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I like about me are:

1.

2.



3.

My Journal

You may want to include a copy of your birth certificate here!

My Birthday




Before I was born, I grew in a special place in my birthday mom’s tummy. Her name is: _____________________________________________

I was born on: ___________________________________

I was born at: ____________________________________
Here is a picture of where I was born: (include a map, photo, drawing)
My Journal
My Baby Self
What do you know about yourself from when you were a baby?

Weight:


Length:

Hair color:

Eye color:

Picture (if you don’t have one, try drawing one or cutting one from a magazine!)


My Journal

This is a nice place to draw or write about your birth family.

Family Facts


Here’s a place to record information about your birth family. Answer as many as you can.
Birth Mother’s Name:

Hair color:

Eye color:

Height:


Cultural background:
Family Illnesses:

____ Alcoholism ____ Allergies

____ Asthma ____ Attention Deficit Disorder

____ Cancer ____ Diabetes

____ Drug Addiction ____ High Blood Pressure

____ Mental Illness ____ Obesity

____ Seizures ____ Other
A memory I have with my birth mom is:

My Journal

This is a nice place to draw or write about your birth family.

Family Facts


Here’s a place to record information about your birth family. Answer as many as you can.
Birth Father’s Name:

Hair color:

Eye color:

Height:


Cultural background
Family Illnesses:

____ Alcoholism ____ Allergies

____ Asthma ____ Attention Deficit Disorder

____ Cancer ____ Diabetes

____ Drug Addiction ____ High Blood Pressure

____ Mental Illness ____ Obesity

____ Seizures ____ Other

A memory I have with my birth dad is:

My Journal

Siblings
Do you have any birth siblings? If you do, write their name, nickname, and something you remember about them in the space below.

My Journal

Here is a place to write, draw, or paste ideas about your thoughts and feelings on why you aren’t living with your birthparents.

Why am I not with my birthparents?


After children are born, they either live with their birthparents or move someplace else.
Birthparents love their children, but sometimes they struggle and their struggles get too big for them to be good parents. Children go into foster care and up for adoption because they are loved and people want the best for them.
There are many reasons why parents can’t take care of their kids.

My Journal

This is a good spot to draw or write your feelings about why you aren’t with your birthparents.

Why I…


There are often many reasons why someone is not living with his or her birthparents. Fill in the spaces below with reasons why you are not living with your birthparents.
Here are some possible answers:
My parents are too young to care for me

My parents took drugs

My parents are dead

My parents hurt me

My parents were sick

My parents hurt each other or other people


Because…




Remember that even if some of the reasons are sad or scary, you are loved and people want the best care for you.

My Journal

Here is a spot for you to share your thoughts and feelings about the first placement you visited. Were you nervous or excited? Did you like it or were you sad? This Is a safe place to remember what it was like for you.

Places I’ve been


Some children have lived with more than one family, or stayed with relatives or in group homes because their birthparents were struggling. Use the spaces below to fill in information about the different places you’ve stayed.


My first Placement
Name of Place/Family/House Color:
I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:
My Journal

Places I’ve been



The following pages are filled with spaces to record memories about different places you’ve lived, and people you’ve lived with. You may not be able to fill in all the blanks, or you may need to use some of your journal space to add things.


Name of Place/Family/House Color:
I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:

Name of Place/Family/House Color:


I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:

My Journal

Places I’ve been

The following pages are filled with spaces to record memories about different places you’ve lived, and people you’ve lived with. You may not be able to fill in all the blanks, or you may need to use some of your journal space to add things.


Name of Place/Family/House Color:
I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:

Name of Place/Family/House Color:


I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:

My Journal

Places I’ve been

The following pages are filled with spaces to record memories about different places you’ve lived, and people you’ve lived with. You may not be able to fill in all the blanks, or you may need to use some of your journal space to add things.

Name of Place/Family/House Color:
I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:

Name of Place/Family/House Color:


I moved on: ________________________ and stayed for: __________________
I remember:

My Journal

People I’ve met along the way…

When you left home you had the chance to meet many new people. Some of these people may have meant a lot to you, so here is a special place to remember them.

Attach pictures, draw pictures, write names, or any memory about people who have meant a lot to you. Examples may be your case worker, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, or friends.

My Journal

What if…
\What if you were the judge? Where would you stay and why?

Use the space below to write about (or have someone else write down for you) what choices you would make if you were in charge.


Breathing

(From the Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, 5th Edition, By Martha Davis, Elizabeth Eshelman, & Mathew McKay)

Background:

Breathing is a necessity of life that we often take for granted. With each breath of air you obtain oxygen and release the waste product carbon dioxide. Poor breathing habits diminish the flow of these gases to and from your body, making it harder for you to cope with stressful situations. Improper breathing contributes to anxiety, panic attacks, depression, muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue. As you learn to be aware of your breathing and practice slowing and normalizing your breaths, your mind will quiet and your body will relax. Breathing awareness and good breathing habits will enhance your psychological and physical well being whether you practice them alone or in combination with other relaxation techniques.

When I’m happy breathing is: (e.g., hard, easy, fast, slow)

When I’m scared breathing is: (e.g., hard, easy, fast, slow)

When I’m mad breathing is: (e.g., hard, easy, fast, slow)

Deep Breathing:

(From the Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, 5th Ed. by Davis, Eshelman, & McKay)


Even though breathing is automatic for our bodies, we can change how we breathe in order to help us think more clearly and feel calmer. Here are steps to practice healthy breathing:




  1. Although this exercise can be practiced in a variety of poses, the following is recommended: Lie down on a blanket, rug, or your yoga mat. Bend your knees and move your feet about eight inches apart, with your toes turned slightly outward. Make sure that your spine is straight.

  2. Scan your body for tension.

  3. Place your hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest.

  4. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose and into your abdomen to push up your hand as much as feels comfortable. Your chest should move only a little and only with your abdomen.

  5. When you feel at ease with step four, smile slightly and inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth (in Hatha Yoga, you exhale through your nose as well), making a quiet and relaxing whooshing sound like the wind as you blow gently out. Your mouth, tongue, and jaw will be relaxed. Take long, slow, deep breaths that raise and lower your abdomen. You can focus on the feel of the air: cool air in and warm air out. Focus on the sounds and feeling of the breathing as you become more and more relaxed.

  6. Continue deep breathing for about five or ten minutes at a time, once or twice a day. Then if you like, gradually extend this period to twenty minutes.

  7. At the end of each deep breathing session, take a little time to once more scan your body for tension. Compare the tension that you feel at the conclusion of the exercise with what you experienced when you began.

Feelings…



Happy

Excited
Elated
Overjoyed
Great
Awesome
Excellent
Sad
Hopeless
Sorrowful
Depressed
Dismal
Miserable
Furious
Seething
Angry
Enraged
Infuriated
Irate
Fuming
Scared
Fearful
Panicky
Afraid
Terrified
Mortified

Panicked
Confused


Bewildered
Trapped
Troubled
Chaotic
Disordered
Strong
Potent
Super
Powerful
Empowered
Invisible
Heroic
Weak
Overwhelmed
Impotent
Small
Disarmed
Feeble
Forceless
Cheerful
Up
Good
Nice
Fortunate
Upset
Distressed
Down
Really Bothered
Gloomy
Tearful
Annoyed
Frustrated
Agitated
Irritated
Heated
Mad
Threatened
Insecure
Uneasy
Anxious
Apprehensive
Frightened
Disorganized
Mixed-up
Foggy
Unclear
Fouled-up
Muddled
Energetic
Confident
Capable
Rugged
Tough
Large
Incapable
Helpless
Insecure
Flimsy
Puny
Powerless
Glad
Content
Satisfied
Okay
Not Too Bad
Cool
Sorry
Lost
Bad
Blah
Unhappy
Blue
Uptight
Dismayed
Put Out
Aggravated
Unnerved
Perturbed
Timid
Unsure
Nervous
Worried
Cautious
Shaky
Bothered
Comfortable
Undecided
Unsure
Snarled
Murky
Sure
Secure
Durable
Sturdy
Solid
Firm
Shaky
Unsure
Fragile

I feel…

Throughout our lives we experience many different feelings. The page to the left lists many different words for feelings. You can circle some of the feelings you’ve experienced, highlight similar feelings, and draw symbols next to words that catch your eye, or just use the list to help you identify what you might be feeling at any moment.

How do you feel about all that has happened to you?

Choose one (or more) feelings to describe how you feel. You can write about these feelings and/or draw pictures describing what those feelings are like for you.

My Journal

I think…


Thinking is important! Sometimes, we think reactively instead of reflectivity. This is because we are responding quickly to external messages (e.g. people in our lives) and the feeling part of our brain (which is much more reactive than our thinking part of our brain). When we purposefully slow down our breathing (so that the feeing part of your brain is soothed), we can access the thinking part of our brain and purposefully and reflectively CREATE and DIRECT the messages we say to ourselves. These new messages come from the integration of the thinking and feeling parts of our brains and that means that they come from deep within in us, our reflective self. These new messages nurture and care for us and help us work toward self-care.
Here are some examples of healthy, nurturing self-statements:


  • I am afraid and I know what to do.

  • I am angry and I know what to do.

  • Feeling out of control is a message. I need to relax and ground myself before I make more choices.

  • Breathing through this moment (let us say you are afraid you ate too much). Will help me make a better choice?

  • Thinking in extremes is reactive not reflective. I can find the balance.

  • Feelings give us information: they are not facts. I feel fat is different from I am fat.

  • My feelings are very important messages to me about the care I need.

Can you think of any more?

My Journal
Sometimes it helps to assign each step to a finger…

I Think

I Feel


I Say


I Do

I say or do…
Choices
Sometimes it feels like we have no control over our lives. Kids and teens don’t always have the option to make choices for themselves. Even adults find that sometimes they don’t have much of a choice, or they don’t realize that they have the opportunity to make a choice. We usually are able to choose our behaviors and actions, even if other people are making other decisions for us. Deciding what to do based on listening to our feelings and our thoughts helps us make healthier and safer choices.

Awareness + Understanding → Choice


To help our brain get ready for choice, it is important to work on integrating the thinking and feeing parts. When those parts of our brain are not working together, we tend to react, fall into old habits, or fail to see all of the important information (both feeling information and think8ng information) that we need to have a choice. To get out thinking and feeling parts of our brain working together, we have made up a very easy four step process.
I Feel…… I Think….. I Say…… I do……

My Journal

ASSERTIVENESS
Create time to encourage new behaviors

Redirect, retrain habits

Take care of your needs while being respectful of others.


passive
Put the rights of others before your own *Minimizes your self worth

Assertive
Stand up for your rights without *Mindfulness

violating others *Maintaining respect for the rights of others *Authentic with experience

*Being in the moment and acknowledging and expressing your needs

*Consciousness: I feel, I think, I say, I do




AGGRESSIVE

Stand up for your rights while violating

and disrespecting others

Self-concept

Fill the next page with who you are. This will help you understand what is important to you. Consider all of the things in your life that you are using right now to evaluate yourself as a person. Identify the different aspects of your idea of self and represent those on the page in any way you’d like. Use the size and shape of the representations to show the importance of the aspect or domain in your overall assessment of your self-worth. Things you might include:


  • Personality

  • Hopes and struggles

  • Capabilities

  • Passions and dreams

  • Appearance

  • Artistic ability

  • What kind of work you might like to do when you grow up

  • Relationships (brother, sister, friend, etc.)

  • Musical ability (do you play any instruments or sing?)

  • Athleticism (sports you are involved or interested in)

  • Emotional sensitivity

  • Spirituality

  • Achievements

  • Morals and beliefs

  • Personal qualities like honesty and trustworthiness

  • Your knowledge in certain areas

  • School achievements

  • Talents (Can you touch your tongue to your nose, or recite all of the state capitals?)

  • Intellectual ability

  • Anything you think is part of how you evaluate yourself.

This is Me!

Today is:________

I am _____________ years old.

Three things I like to do are:

1.

2.

3.


Three things I don’t like are:

1.

2.



3.
Three things I like about me are:

1.

2.



3.

Life Certificate

This document certifies that
__________________________________

NAME


has made valuable efforts in celebrating his/her life. The contents of this lifebook will be cherished and kept safe and new pages will be added in time.

__________________________________

SIGNATURE

__________________________________

DATE






Share with your friends:


The database is protected by copyright ©hestories.info 2019
send message

    Main page