Professionals Working with Vulnerable Children

Professional Development Symposium

We are pleased to offer this one-day knowledge symposium designed to provide information on current understanding on brain development in the early years specific to vulnerable children.
This symposium will provide delegates with a deeper knowledge and understanding of child brain development from multiple areas of research.

Programme Overview

Attendees will better understand how factors in utero and in a child’s early years can influence brain development. These factors can have long term impact on how a child behaves, responds emotionally, learns at school and ultimately becomes a productive person in society.

It is never too late to make an impact!

Topics Covered

Programme Description

Attendees will better understand how factors in utero and in a child’s early years can influence brain development. These factors can have long term impact on how a child behaves, responds emotionally, learns at school and ultimately becomes a productive person in society.
It is never too late to make an impact!

Topics Covered

Risk and Protective Factors
The symposium will examine how risk and protective factors can occur at many levels including within the child, parent, family and wider community and all of these can influence long term outcomes. We will examine how particular factors such as prenatal alcohol exposure and maltreatment can hinder development.
Early Experiences Shape Brain Architecture
The brain is complex and highly interrelated however different areas have primary responsibility for controlling different activities. Delegates will gain an understanding of the basic architecture of
the brain, the complex interplay between genes and experiences, and the amazing capabilities of babies to respond to sensory information in their world.
Relationships and Attachment
Babies are profoundly affected by the emotional states and behavior of the adults around them. The back-and-forth process of interactive relationships known as serve and return is fundamental to the wiring of the brain. Quality and quantity of time, attunement, responsiveness and the rupture and repair process can impact on the nature of the attachment process and subsequent development of a child.
Stress and Self Regulation
Not all stress is created equal. Learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy development. Moderate, short-lived stress responses in the body can promote growth, and with
time and effective support self-regulation. In contrast, toxic stress is the strong activation of the body’s stress management system in the absence of protective adult support. Without caring adults
to buffer children, the stress caused by poverty, neglect, abuse, or maternal depression can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, with long-term consequences for learning, behaviour, and both physical and mental health.

As a result of attending

  • Be able to understand the challenges they have faced and help them reach their potential
  • Provide experiences that are health promoting for a child’s development
  • Understand risk and protective factors
  • Be aware when a child may be at risk
  • Identify ways to meet the emotional and social needs of children in your care
  • Identify ways to support a child in times of stress.


  • This symposium is for professionals working with children who are at risk of harm to their well-being – now and into the future – as a consequence of the environment in which they are being raised.


2017 Symposia dates


Dates 9 May 2017
Times 9.00 – 4.30pm
Venue Sir Don Rowlands Centre | Lake Karapiro | Cambridge
Cost $195.50 per person (incl GST).


Dates 10 May 2017
Times 9.00 – 4.30pm
Venue Totara Hospice | Manurewa | Auckland
Cost $195.50 per person (incl GST).


Dates 6 June 2017
Times 9.00 – 4.30pm
Venue St John’s in the City | Wellington
Cost $195.50 per person (incl GST).

We will be bringing our symposia to these towns too. Tickets will be available soon.


AUCKLAND (West) – Aug 17



Certificate upon completion

Workshop notes


Morning tea and lunch

“I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the day. It was incredibly informative. I have learned so much that has really influenced my thinking”

Delegate 2015

“This programme has made a difference in how I think about client’s experiences which will impact my decisions around interventions”

Delegate 2015