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The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

Institute creates DVD series to help adopting families

When psychologists Karyn Purvis and David Cross were approached by adoptive parents who had concerns about their childrens’ transitions into their new families, they decided that the consequences of ignoring their pleas were too great to remain inactive. The following summer they started Hope Connection, a camp to create an environment where they could observe and research adopted, neglected, at-risk and traumatized children.

Their findings at Hope Connection prompted the creation of the TCU Institute on Child Development’s video series “Healing Families.” The institute released their second DVD, “Playful Interaction,” at the beginning of September.

Purvis, director of the institute, said she and Cross, a professor at the university, created the series to help adopted children and their parents connect and learn to trust each other.

The first DVD, “Healthy Touch,” features research about touch and provides practical applications for adding healthy touch into daily life, according to a university press release. “Playful Connection” outlines the importance of play and provides practical examples of playful interaction, according to the release.

Purvis said a former “Dateline NBC” producer came on board with the DVD series, and the institute now expects to complete the “Healing Families” series in the next 18 to 24 months.

The institute’s administrative assistant, Emmelie Cox, said “Healthy Touch,” was broadcast on KERA in August. Cox said the rest of the DVDs will be formatted the same way for broadcast as well.

Purvis said she and other members of the institute “dreamed of being able to do a TV-quality series with pictures and examples involving professionals and parents.” The series was funded through grants from The Rees-Jones Foundation, Harold Simmons Foundation, Lesley Family Foundation, The Meadows Foundation and the Mabel Peters Caruth Fund at Communities Foundation of Texas.

In 2004, the institute sponsored a lecture series that explores essential themes for helping families, including touch, play, attachment and brain chemistry, Purvis said. The lecture series is also available on DVD.

She said she hoped the DVDs would eventually be used as a tool for parents, teachers, students and professionals in contact with children through their work.

“We originally started researching to help adoptive parents know how to help their children grow,” Purvis said. “We knew we had something when moms came up to us crying at the summer camp, saying their child had let them rock them to sleep the night before for the first time since coming home.”

Claire Ramsey, senior early childhood education major, said Purvis spoke to her class about the themes of the “Healing Families” series.

“It’s just something I don’t think people think about enough, how it emotionally hinders children being unstable and moving around in foster care,” Ramsey said.

Purvis said the Institute of Child Development became a Vision-In-Action program of the university in 2005 and was funded by donations from private foundations for the first three years of operation.

Funding allowed Purvis to travel internationally on the institute’s behalf, making connections and creating a respected reputation for the institute, she said. Purvis said she is still in touch with contacts overseas and would eventually want to see the DVDs available in multiple language subtitles.


“Healthy Families” series

“Healthy Touch” – $60

“Playful Interaction” – $60

Both DVDs – $110

For more information, visit www.child.tcu.edu

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