Gail Curran, educational and therapeutic placement consultant and certified educational planner, will travel with former client Jess Larsen and her mother, Carolyn, to Anaheim, California, for the 34th Annual Childhood Trauma and Attachment Conference on Oct. 1, 2022.

The Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment (ATTACh) is a nonprofit global coalition of parents, professionals, and caregivers raising awareness and understanding about attachment and treatment best practices. 

As a board member, Gail introduced the idea in 2021 of having Jess and her mom share their story of healing and resilience at last year’s conference. “I thought that hearing from a young adult adoptee and her family, how they navigated the trials and tribulations in getting help through some of the most difficult times, and Jess’s resilience, would give hope to other families experiencing some of the same challenges,” Gail said. “I had no idea of just what an impact the story would have on others attending the conference.” 

They received enormous positive feedback from families, other young people, and professionals in the field, touched by Jess’s honest and heartfelt story. The impact of their presentation encouraged the conference organizers to add a new conference track this year dedicated to youth and young adults.  

After the 2021 conference, they were approached by Fostering Families Today, who wanted to write an article about Jess and her journey. The article was featured in their March/April 2022 issue and titled: Everyday Heroes: One adoptee’s journey to healing with the help of an Arizona Educational Consultant. 

Jess and her mom will again join Gail to share how Jess was adopted from a Russian orphanage when she was 11 months old. The family dealt with volatile meltdowns when she was younger. At age 10, Jess fell from a second-story window. She became a paraplegic, further complicating the challenges in her life. The story continues through dramatic teen years with drug abuse and defiance. Finally, it culminates with Jess living in a hotel room and her family turning to Gail for help, and the first seeds of hope and healing began.  

Added to this year’s 3-hour presentation are presentations by Terri Roman, LPC, PLLC, Jess’s current therapist, and Patricia Alana Inemer, LPC, discussing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) in borderline individuals.

Jess is now a college student studying childhood development and trauma and is increasingly a spokesperson for trauma survivors. 

The theme for the 2022 ATTACh conference is Catch the Wave of Hope and Healing and will include workshops falling along seven tracks:  

  • Parent track: these workshops pertain to supporting caregivers in their lived experiences with extra focus and preference on hands-on that is intermediate knowledge base 
  • Prevention and Early Intervention track: These workshops are for presentations focusing on actions and interventions before the development of severe attachment and trauma issues that will identify these issues in their earliest stages to prevent long-term effects 
  • Sensorimotor approaches track: for parents and professionals to understand the link between sensory integration issues in children 
  • Child Welfare track: Presentations should use evidence-based practice to enhance understanding and practices in child welfare around trauma-informed care. 
  • Intermediate professional track: these workshops are for those furthering their knowledge of attachment issues that may be broader in scope. 
  • Advanced Clinical track: these workshops provide in-depth coverage of specialized topics

NEW THIS YEAR – Teens and Young Adults: This new track will focus on hearing from teens and young adults who will share their journey. 

PANELS: Youth and Young People – Teens and young adults sharing their experiences 

Parents are invited to attend. Registration will be open soon to reserve your place to participate in the conference, and scholarships are available. Sponsorships are also available. Visit to learn more. 

About ATTACh: The Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh) is a national and international coalition of parents, caregivers, and professionals working to give all communities the support they need to make healing children more hopeful and more effective. 

Optimal Edu Options is an educational and therapeutic placement consulting agency. We work with families across Arizona and throughout the United States. Our experienced team has the expertise necessary to effectively support your family and child in finding the best educational and therapeutic options to meet your family’s needs. Reach out to us today for more information about our services and how they can help. We offer a free 30-minute consultation. Email or call us at (602) 904-1282. Book online at