1) Gender diversity and children can be a delicate subject to navigate with parents, teachers, and caregivers. There is minimal research on gender non-conforming (or gender expansive) children. Everyone wants the best for their children but differing views on gender and, often, confusion around the relationship between gender and sexuality, can create tension as to what is "best" for a child. An article in the January edition of the Atlantic discusses a large, long-term study done by Kristina Olson at the University of Washington, tracking the health and well-being of transgender children. The study shows children's sense of their identity (gathered through 5 assessments) is strongly related to the likelihood they will eventually socially transition (use felt gender affirming pronouns - often accompanied by change of hairstyle, dress, and name). This research indicates often a gender expansive child's sense of their identity is formed before the child transitions and is starting to be treated as their chosen identity. I.e. treating a child assigned male at birth like a little girl will not cause the child to feel as if they are a girl. The child's sense of their identity as a girl is already developed. Play therapists can help families by both empathizing with differing perspectives and the challenges of navigating new ways of viewing gender and by using current research, though minimal, to help educate the adults in these children's lives. To view the article and read on, click here.
2) Do you know Sesame Street has a website!? It may be old news to some of you but it's news to us and the resource is incredible for kids and caregivers. Adults need to sign up to access the website (it's free) but then you can access amazing "toolkits" with a variety of resources (videos, activities, etc.) to help kids deal with challenges that come up in their lives ranging from grief to asthma to divorce to support after an emergency. Click Here to see!