Therapy Centre NI, Dungannon
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Developmental & Relational Trauma

Some children in our society have been subject to Adverse Childhood Experiences, such as in-utero trauma, neglect, or abuse. The impact of these types of trauma on the developing brain, known as ‘developmental trauma’, often coupled with the absence of consistently attuned caring and responsive parents or caregiver’s, known as ‘relational trauma’, requires a trauma and attachment informed therapeutic and systemic approach.

Children who have experienced adversity in their lives often present with symptoms or characteristics of other disorders we recognise as:-

  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Oppositional Defiance Disorder
  • Learning Difficulties

It’s important to consider the symptoms we see might be a communication of need, rather than a characteristic which meets the criteria for diagnosis of a disorder.

In this case I draw my treatment planning from the following models and approaches: -

  • Bruce Perry’s Neuro-sequential model of Therapeutics and the ‘Bottom-Up Approach’
  • Jean Ayres Sensory Integration Theory
  • Eadaoin Breathnach’s Sensory Attachment Intervention Model
  • Sarah Lloyd’s Building Underdeveloped Sensory Systems model
  • Colby Pearce Triple A Model (Attachment, Accessibility, Arousal)
  • Dan Hughes Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy
  • Stephen Porges Polyvagal Theory
  • The CARE model – Cornell’s Children in Residential Experiences

These are highly regarded and empirically researched models. I draw on these theories when formulating a treatment plan supporting the child and their parents, carers, social workers and health professionals.

To ensure my clients receive the best quality care, I attend monthly supervision with a highly experienced paediatric OT, and an OT who specialises in the application of the Sensory Attachment Intervention Model in her practice.

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