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Irish Attachment in Action launch event host major learning event in Dublin

A CONFERENCE is taking place in Dublin tomorrow (FRI) where a new interest group will address the importance of attachment in building relationships between children, their parents and society as a whole.

Attachment is an affectional bond between an infant or child and parent that implies the provision of security, particularly in times of hunger, thirst, stress, illness or anxiety. Such security is thought to be key in building lifelong resilience and emotional well being.

The event, which is being facilitated by Lynne Peyton of Lynne Peyton Childcare Consultancy at Dublin City University's Helix Centre, will introduce a new group of professionals who working together to enhance relationships between parents, children and society.

The group, known as Irish Attachment in Action (IAIA), will discuss how early attachment and parenting experiences are critical in shaping children, how children develop into adults and how future relationships are managed. Conference attendees will hear how important attachment is for the role of parents, carers, teachers or concerned professionals.

The chairperson of the new group is Johnnie Gibson, secretary is Paull Harvey and members include representatives from statutory or not for profit organisations across Ireland. Also involved are independent practitioners and consultants with a special interest in attachment.

Each IAIA representative is a volunteer and have been building up to today's conference by hosting events in Antrim, Castleblaney and Dublin.

As well as highlighting the importance of attachment, IAIA aims to support professionals, provide learning opportunities and will act as a point of contact. The team will be working with policy makers in Northern Ireland and the South of Ireland to promote all Ireland initiatives in relation to health, social policy and education.

People attending the conference will hear from the keynote speaker, Helen Minnis, a Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Mental Health and Well-Being in Glasgow University. Professor Minnis is a patron of Scottish Attachment in Action and is a key advocate in the importance of attachment. She will address why attachment is important especially in education.

Peter O'Toole of the Irish Foster Care Association, Maurice Meehan, of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland and Jim McGuigan of TULSA will also address conference.

In the afternoon, Maria Dunne will present a pilot project promoting self esteem and hopefulness in schools in the North West and Christina Enright will discuss the five fundamental parental functions which will promote attachments in infants in her Five To Thrive programme.

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