Content Warning:  This post deals with the topic of child parent abduction and may be distressing for some readers.

At the age of two, Kiah* was kidnapped by her estranged biological father, who had been banned by the Family Court from having contact with her. Kiah’s family circumstances have since stabilised and she lives a more predictable life today. She doesn’t remember being kidnapped but as they say, the body remembers what the mind forgets.

The trauma of being ripped out of her mother’s arms and living on the run in a car for 8 days has stayed in her nervous system. Today, it manifests in other ways, like outbursts of anger, separation anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

Kiah was eager to participate in our Expressive Therapy program, especially when she saw that it incorporated dance movement therapy. Over the course of 20 weeks, Kiah attended weekly therapy sessions with our experienced therapists, who helped her explore her feelings and find healthy ways to cope with her past trauma. Through dance, she learned to process what she was storing in her body as dance therapists are uniquely trained to offer movement interventions within a child’s scope of tolerance while providing a safe space for them to engage in physical activity. Movement as a treatment, it can also assist children like Kiah who over-regulate to physically express some of their suppressed emotions.

As Kiah progressed through the program, her teacher and classmates began to notice a positive change in her demeanour. She was less prone to outbursts and was even able to go away for camp. Her mother, who had been concerned about her daughter’s emotional wellbeing for years, was grateful for the progress she had made and felt that KidsXpress had truly made a difference in her daughter’s life.

For Kiah, the impact of the program extended beyond the therapy sessions. She felt more confident and self-assured, and her love of dancing grew stronger with each passing week. She even started taking formal dance classes outside of KidsXpress, something she had always dreamed of but never pursued.

There are still many children like Kiah who are struggling with trauma and the emotional fallout that comes with it. That’s why we at KidsXpress are committed to raising funds and awareness for our program, so that we can help more children like Kiah find healing and hope. We believe that every child deserves to have a safe space to express themselves and work through their trauma, and with your support, we can make that a reality.

*At KidsXpress we respect the privacy of the children and families we support. So while their stories are true, stock images of children have been used and client names have been changed.