From the beginning of our lives we all seek interpersonal sustenance starting with our first relationship with our mother, followed closely by our relationship with our father. Healthy development depends on this nurture as a foundational start to feeling secure and safe.
Our first relationships set the stage for other relationships in our lives. There are many possible reasons why these first relationships in our lives can be disturbed:
  • Sensory Processing challenges
  • Medical diagnosis of child, such as Autism, Failure to Thrive to name a few
  • Medical diagnosis of parent such as Post-Partum Depression
  • In utero trauma
  • Loss of birth mother to adoption and / or foster care
  • Surrogate birthing
  • Longer term separation in NCU after birth
  • Sub economic circumstances leading to neglect of nurture
  • Parent history of trauma or current experience of trauma
  • Childhood trauma; physical or verbal abuse
  • Child witnessing abuse or trauma in household
The baby listens to the mother’s voice by at least 5 months in utero through bone conduction vibrations of the spinal column. At birth, the baby is seeking this mother’s voice, the re-assuring touch of the mother, as their first instinct is to seek security in what would resemble something familiar. The baby relies on both parents to respond to their cries so as to understand nurture and care. They need to know that even when their parent is away, they will return to respond and care for them. From this safety and security, the intrinsic motivation to grow and develop can thrive.
In a UNC early brain development study, tracking the development of the brain’s emotional circuitry in infancy, they found that adult like functional brain connections for emotional regulation emerge during the first year of life. The growth of these brain circuits during the second year of life predicted the IQ and emotional control of the children at age 4.

Many children are referred to occupational therapy for sensory processing and / or behavioral challenges. Each child carries a unique profile with a unique background. We frequently find an overlap of sensory processing challenges and attachment difficulties driving the behavior of the child. The assessment and intervention of children who face attachment challenges will be significantly different as the driving force behind the profile is different.

Our Unique Evaluation

  • Principles of trauma informed care
  • The impact of sensory processing on the relationship of the parent and child
  • Overall development in gross and fine motor skill
  • The different attachment profiles, such as secure, avoidant, ambivalent or disorganized and how this relates to overall development.
  • Portions include parent and child interaction
  • Social-emotional assessment batteries are included
  • The impact of developmental delay on executive and academic performance

Children struggling with attachment difficulties will frequently hold on to sensory modulation profiles to serve as protection for their emotional insecurity. This is very important to consider in planning the roadmap of intervention. As occupational therapists we do not diagnose, but we consider the different profiles within our model of care as we take this journey with the family.

Our Unique Intervention Program:

  • The roadmap includes both parent and child
  • The emphasis for the parent is to assist with stress relief and provide supportive strategies for the home environment
  • The parent and child work together in tandem with the therapist in the Floortime sessions from the initiation of the program
  • Access to a mental health counselor is integral to the program.
  • The child will travel through a 3-tier journey of a developmental hierarchy, targeting foundational skills first, then organizational and finally the executive and academic phase.

Are you ready to learn more about our unique and specialized approach? Schedule A Free Consultation today!


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Thankful mom – January 2020

We adopted our twin boys at 6 mos old. They were born premature at 3lbs and 5 lbs in a foreign country. They went directly to a foster family after delivery. No NICU. No hospital stay. Despite being so tiny, they seemed to develop well.

Parent – March 2013

Our days are clearer since we started coming to ATA. There is a new found feeling of hope and understanding in our family. My kids love coming here and I believe ATA gives all of the children the tools they need to reach their fullest potential. They identify the cause/causes of why things are the way they are and then there is a plan. Our plan involved Tomatis.

Images used are stock images to protect the privacy of clients