Occupational Therapy Assessment for Attachment and Trauma Training Series Level 2

When:Online – Virtual Classroom - March 8, 22, 2023 - April 5, 12, 2023 8am-11am CT / 9am-12pm ET


Session 1: March 8 from 8am-11am CT / 9am-12pm ET


Therapeutic Use of Self through an Attachment Lens - When approaching everyday pediatric occupational therapy practice through a trauma- informed lens it is critical to view every moment of contact with a client as both assessment and intervention.  What do we do as therapists when our therapy sessions don’t go as planned? What do we do when a child is resistant to engaging in what we have to offer? The answer is that we become curious about what is really going on for the child – _and we recognize the contributions of the therapist/client relationship in informing our assessment. The therapeutic relationships we create with our clients develop the foundational backdrop of comfort and safety for the child, and their family, opening the doorway for the provision of both standardized and informal evaluation within the occupational therapy context. This two-hour online session will examine the interpersonal neurobiology of therapeutic use of self and its influence on regulation of a child’s state of arousal through relationship.  Through lecture, conversation and analysis, participants will deepen their skill set of intentional non-verbal observations and interventions that support the process of standardized evaluation and clinical observations. Through a deeper understanding of attachment and trauma-informed principles, pediatric occupational therapy practice can become more impactful for our clients and their families.

The Use of Projective Techniques in Occupational Therapy Practice – Much needs to be said of how the “body holds the score” (Bessel van der Kolk) and as occupational therapists we certainly emphasize the importance of these words in everyday practice. We also focus on how the emotional psyche meets the physical body as we establish a much-needed holistic approach to each individual child we see. In this workshop Maude will focus on using projective techniques to support our understanding through the social-emotional lens. Even as some techniques will warrant an additional journey of training, Maude will also cover assessment tools that could be used in practice the very next day. Discover the richness of the greater understanding this brings with regards to the physical and emotional aspects of healing, wellness and wellbeing.


Session 2: March 22 from 8am-11am CT / 9am-12pm ET


Considerations for Praxis Assessment for Individuals with Trauma Backgrounds

This lecture will examine how to assess praxis skills in individuals with trauma backgrounds. Particular emphasis will be given on aspects of the assessment process which may be particularly challenging or triggering for individuals with trauma.

Clinical Observations from a body-bases perspective: identifying sensory, regulation and relational difficulties - Drawing from the rich theoretical and practical aspects of Dr. Jean Ayres seminal work in Sensory Integration, Sheila M. Frick will examine a variety of informative clinical observations appropriate for clinic, school, and home environments. Beyond a basic template for conducting these observations, participants will explore how to interpret the findings and their connections to difficulties with sensory processing and integration. Furthermore, the discussion will introduce participants to key reflexes and developmental movement patterns that influence sensory modulation along with a felt sense or safety, stability and connectedness.


Session 3: April 5 from 8am-11am CT / 9am-12pm ET


A Trauma Informed Approach to Assessment, A Sensory-Attachment Perspective - Occupational Therapists need to be mindful of the potential to re-traumatize children during the assessment process. To avoid this, certain steps need to be taken that include being informed of the trauma history, attachment relationships and most importantly the child’s adaptive responses to danger. A trauma informed approach requires the therapist to be flexible and adaptive in how they carry out assessment procedures, whilst at the same time not compromising the validity of their assessments. This ensures the child operates within their window of tolerance and enables optimal performance.

Attachment and sensory patterns: Implications for assessment in trauma-informed care - Attachment and sensory patterns are meaningfully related, codeveloping, interacting constructs. This has implications for occupational therapy assessment and treatment, particularly in the field of paediatric and family care. In this workshop, Pam will share findings from her research about the connection between attachment and sensory patterns, and observations of the relevance of these findings for our work with families. Particular foci include: clearly defining the constructs of attachment and sensory patterns; overviewing measures available to assess these constructs; and considering how parent-child relationships (and their respective sensory/attachment patterns) might impact measurement of these constructs.


Session 4: April 12 from 8am-11am CT / 9am-12pm ET


Breathtaking: Understanding the connections between breath mechanics, posture and trauma - The mechanics of the breath are as fascinating as they are complex. Breathing provides us with necessary oxygen but also contributes to the foundation of posture, balance, emotional regulation, continence, lymph drainage and more. This presentation explores the basics of breath mechanics and the connections between this process and posture as well as how trauma can disrupt these important networks. An assessment that reflects the dynamic systems nature of breathing will also be discussed, introducing participants to an expanded understanding of the breath.

Putting it all together - So, what now? How do we organize all that we have learnt? During this final presentation Maude will compile a summary of all the different nuggets to support the therapist in building their own unique evaluation template that would include attachment and trauma informed care.  This will be a “structure” session with a large chunk of time devoted to any lingering questions that therapists may still have. As this workshop series is closing, Maude will also highlight the thought process behind the level 3 workshop series with focus on intervention.

Outline / Agenda:

9.00 to 10.30 am     ADHD Explained

10:30 to 11.00 am   Morning Break

11.00 to 12.00 pm   Sensory Processing Hierarchy

12:00 to 1:00 pm    Lunch

1:00 to 2:30 pm      Socio-Emotional Considerations

2:30 to 2.45 pm      Afternoon Break

2.45 to 4:00 pm:     Case study

Learning Objectives:

Session 1:

  • Explain the neurobiological foundations of therapeutic use of self
  • Define trauma-informed practice as an aspect of Occupational Therapy
  • Understand the perspective of a trauma-informed mindset as it applies to standardized and non-standardized
  • Describe the elements of therapeutic use of self within an attachment frame of reference
  • Appreciate the nuances of clinical reasoning
  • Appreciate the nuances of clinical reasoning that occur within the context of a therapeutic relationship
  • Consider at least 4 different projective assessment tools related to occupational therapy practice
  • Outline 5 basic principles of holding a “containing space” for the client during assessment (and intervention)
  • Describe 6 basic tenets of the use of projective techniques in mental health

Session 2:

  • Describe key components of praxis assessment
  • State key points to consider when conducting praxis assessments with individuals with trauma backgrounds
  • Discuss the significance of Dr. Ayres structured clinical observations to identifying sensory processing and integrative difficulties in daily life
  • Understand key clinical indicators that suggest when inadequate development of the early protective and postural reflexes contribute to difficulties with sensory processing, regulation, and relational capacities

Session 3:

  • Explain the impact of trauma on sensory processing and attachment relationships from a developmental sensory-attachment perspective
  • Be cognizant of pre-assessment requirements for documentation of attachment trauma history and behaviors
  • Use the Trauma Informed Pre-Assessment (TIPA) Checklist (Bhreathnach)
  • Recognize the use of attachment strategic behaviors and how this affects the assessment process
  • Define a trauma-informed adaptive approach, working within the window of tolerance
  • To understand the evidence for links between attachment and sensory patterns (and the potential neurobiological underpinning of these).
  • To gain insight into the range of attachment and sensory measures, relevant throughout the life span, that can be used in practice and/or in research projects.
  • To consider how the parent child relationship, and their respective sensory/attachment patterns, might impact measurement of sensory and attachment patterns.

Session 4:

  • Discuss the typical development of emotional self-regulation
  • Identify 12 components of a dynamic systems model of postural control
  • Identify the systems impacted by anxiety in children with motor and sensory challenges
  • Identify the interconnections between anxiety, emotional regulation and postural control
  • Recognize 5 behavioral signs and 5 physical signs of the stress response
  • Identify the role of alignment in mature breath mechanics, emotional regulation and postural control
  • Explain the rationale supporting assessment and treatment of breath mechanics to address both emotional regulation and postural control
  • Identify 5 areas to examine when assessing breath
  • Discuss at least 2 golden nuggets of each preceding session in this workshop series
  • Identify a framework for building their own unique template for assessment in attachment and trauma informed care

Assessment: Completion of Feedback Form within 3 days post workshop

CE has been applied for through NOTCB


Maude Le Roux, OTR/L, SIPT, DIR Expert Trainer specializes in Sensory Integration services as it applies to functional activities of daily living, including improving the ability of children / students of all ages to partake in his/her learning environment. She began her journey in attachment and trauma informed care through multiple different trainings since 2008. She is a current Member of the ATTACh Board of Directors and responsible for maintaining an OT presence at the annual ATTACh conferences as well as developing the OT ATTACh certificate program. In addition to operating her private practice, A Total Approach, in Glen Mills, PA, she also hosts an online academy, www.maudeleroux.com within which she trains in a variety of different diagnostic categories for assessment and intervention. Maude has presented at conferences in a variety of settings across the US as well as internationally. She has co-authored the book, The Listening Journey, with Francoise Nicoloff, and her second book, Our Greatest Allies, is available on Amazon.com.

Lara Taggart, Ed.D., OTR/L is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northern Arizona State University (NAU) Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program since July of 2015. She holds a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) from AT Still University, and a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from ASU. Lara works 10 hours/week at Childhelp, a community mental health clinic that serves children and families who have a trauma background. Her research interests are in infant mental health and the relationship between child and caregiver sensory processing patterns and bonding. She has worked as an OT in various settings, which included outpatient/inpatient rehabilitation for adult and pediatric populations, school setting, and early intervention. Lara has served on the Executive Board of the Arizona Occupational Therapy Association as President and in Pediatric and Neuro Special Interest Groups. She is currently the Arizona Representative Assembly for the national OT board (American Occupational Therapy Association).

Special Needs Accommodation: We invite anyone who may need a specific accommodation to contact [email protected] and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. We do provide online PowerPoint for download should you require larger print.

Course Completion Requirement: Participants will receive pre-recorded instructional sessions one week prior to each live session date. Participants will be required to watch these recordings in full prior to each live session for review and in-depth discussion. To achieve full credit, participants are required to attend each session on all 4 training dates, as well as watch each pre-recorded session. In the case a participant is not able to attend a session due to a clearly stated emergency, the participant will receive a recording of that missed live session. To receive credit, the participant is required to watch the recording and write a one paragraph summary of the missed session and submit to ATTACh within 3 days.

Payment and Cancellation Policy: Payment is due in full at time of registration. There is a non-refundable fee of $50 for cancellations at any time. If the course participant cancels within 30 days prior to the course starting date, the reimbursement would be 50% and no reimbursement is given if a participant cancels within 15 days of the course start date. To cancel or withdraw from a course, please contact [email protected]. If the course is cancelled by the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh), each participant will receive an e-mail notification announcing the rescheduled dates or the date in which ATTACh would issue a reimbursement if course is not rescheduled.

Target Audience: Occupational Therapists, but Speech Language and Physical Therapists are welcome to join us as well.

Educational Level: Intermediate

Number of Participants: Unlimited

Instructional Methods: PowerPoint, Discussion, Video

Prerequisite: Completion of LEVEL 1: OT Attachment and Trauma Training

Contact Hours: 23.5

To Register: https://attach.regfox.com/level-2-otota-attachment-trauma-training-series---spring-2023