Tiffany Sudela-Junker

Years ago, we were parenting two newly-adopted children, both with significant trauma-related needs. At the time, our children required a high level of support and our whole family became stressed. We had just begun to learn about the impact of developmental trauma, but we had limited resources and little access to support. We were overwhelmed and pretty much on our own. We lived in isolation, similar to how we all have lived during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We learned how to do things differently and got our family through the roughest and most isolated days. We kept it simple, stayed connected with each other, and tried our best to be kind. We found that when we could do those things, we really did survive and thrive. We were not perfect. The kids had hard days, and we had them too. When hard days happened, we made repair, tried again, and moved forward. Our greatest lesson learned was that our kids do not need us to be perfect. They need us to be gentle with ourselves and with them, and to worry less about doing and focus more on being.

We have a teenager who is on the spectrum. He and I have been in a constant back & forth battle for a few years. The things I learned from you today are going to help me professionally as well as personally. Thank you!

Theresa D, Parent

Tif, you have changed my life. You have changed my parenting, and my teaching, and because of you, (me & my husband)… our family is flourishing. The things that I have learned from you are unbelievable and felt like you deserved to know that. Thank you so much!

Jessie, Parent

Thank you for taking the time to share with my classes last week! Their response to your visit was overwhelming. UCLA is a university that values empirical scientific evidence above all, our student rarely encounter experts in the field who are actually on the front-lines, so it’s no surprise to me that they were deeply affected by you and your story! Real world experience is just as valuable as what is happening in the lab.

Bonnie, UCLA

I have seen such huge improvement in these kids and so much of this is due to the help you have given their caregivers. Thank you!

Katharine G, M.A., Agency - Youthnet

Tif, your training today was outstanding. Your powerpoint, your delivery, and the content and pace were all spot-on. I felt very moved by many of the stories you shared and the photos that went along with the stories. Thank you for sharing with us.

Sonia, Northwest Maritime Center

On the second day of training, we had a child come into the office because he was having some behavioral difficulties. My staff was trying to talk him through things unsuccessfully so I discreetly suggested she have him try to blow up a balloon. She was confused but I had just learned that day about how certain things can trigger the trigeminal nerve which activates the vagus nerve and can reset the nervous system. It totally helped! This child went from being inconsolable to talking about what happened and helping us to problem solve for future situations.

Staff, Boys & Girls Club

I attended this RISE training before the return to in person learning in our school district. When the kiddos did arrive, they arrived with over a year of non social interaction so I expected some challenges right off the bat. However, I kept thinking about ‘respond don’t react’ with respect to my own triggers as an educator and I must say, I had to modify my behaviors first before I expect the students to do so as same (lead by example). Having a couple of weeks to reflect, I am a better teacher now and perhaps a better human being with the tools the RISE training gave me. Thank You.

Anonymous Teacher, Kitsap

Thank you for teaching how to work with people who regress to a younger age. I see it in children AND adults. Before, I would go into observation mode and try to understand “why” it was happening. But now I know how to help in moments like that, besides only trying to comfort, or whatever was situationally appropriate.

Cheyenne, Parent

Three Guiding Truths


Early trauma physically changes the developing brain.


Kindness and compassionate responses soothe the nervous system.


Our idea of community needs to be re-defined, it needs to adapt, because compassionate relationships heal trauma.