About Sensory Attachment Intervention

Sensory Attachment Intervention is a treatment approach for children and adults who have suffered early life trauma.  It was developed by Occupational Therapist Eadaoin Bhreathnach and aims to “enable parents and children to learn the art of self-regulation through the use of sensory and engagement strategies”. (Bhreathnach 2013).

Negative experiences in utero and early childhood impact on the person’s capacity to cope with stress throughout life. Frequently the individual will quickly demonstrate survival responses (fight, flight, freeze and dissociate). If a child is ‘stuck’ in survival mode, or quickly escalates into survival mode, it can leave them unable to access the cognitive (thinking part) of their brain. In terms of sensory processing, we tend to see that the child has over-responsive vision and hearing, leaving them in a state of hypervigilance. Often children will be defensive to touch, especially nurturing touch or touch that is not on their terms. We also can see that children are struggling with their processing of proprioception (body awareness), vestibular (balance) and interoception (regulate hunger, thirst, toileting, temperature etc). Children sometimes struggle to adequately process their taste and smell sense.