The ABC's of Understanding Emotional Responses: Attunement, Brain State, and Connection

Child life specialists are often called upon to help children in the midst of upset. How can we better understand what’s behind these emotional responses? This presentation will examine the three brain states and how to interpret children’s emotional responses and employ new skills which strengthen attunement and build connection. Practical skills that demonstrate positive intent, composure, empathy, and encouragement will help participants build strong connections and attunement with children and families by applying knowledge of the brain state model.

Participants will be able to:

- Define the three basic states of brain function and behavioral characteristics of each state (survival, emotional, and executive state).Apply the brain state model to behaviors encountered in child life practice.
- Recognize skills to use with children when we want to help them gain composure during moments of upset.
- Examine ways in which to build attunement and connection with children in stressful situations.

Suggested Domain: Intervention

This webinar is part of our Emerging Professionals programming. 

Ruthie Davis


Ruthie Davis has been an adjunct instructor at Baylor University since 2013, teaching multiple child and family courses including: Child Development, Parenting, Individual Development & Family Relationships, and Child Life Theory & Practice. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Child & Family Studies from Baylor University and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Ruthie has been a Certified Child Life Specialist since 2003 and has worked in pediatric hospitals in both Dallas, TX and Temple, TX. She has leadership experience as both a child life supervisor and child life manager. Her clinical experiences include a variety of patient populations, including intensive care, emergency medicine, trauma, hematology/oncology, and with children of adult patients. She continues on staff as a child life specialist, working weekends at Children's Health in Dallas. Ruthie also worked as a preschool teacher at Baylor's Piper Center for Child Development & Family Studies from 2017-2018

Joyce Nuner


Joyce Nuner has been an associate professor at Baylor University since 2006 in the Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, teaching multiple child and family courses including Prenatal & Infant Development, Children & Families with Special Needs, The Preschool Child, and Child Development. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, a Master of Science degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, and a Ph.D. from Texas Women's University. She is largely involved with Baylor University's lab school, the Piper Center for Human Development & Family Studies. Joyce's interests include perinatal bereavement, early childhood education, and children with special needs. 


11/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EST)  |  Recorded On: 10/19/2020
11/11/2020 at 1:00 PM (EST)  |  Recorded On: 10/19/2020
7 Questions
4 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/4 points to pass
4 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  4/4 points to pass
1.00 PDUs credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 PDUs credit  |  Certificate available