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Written by: Cristin Holland, MOT, OTR/L and Teresa May-Benson, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA
originally published July 1, 2014

Self-Study Articles are eight to twelve page scholarly articles on current topics related to sensory integration and sensory processing disorder.

Description: The purpose of this paper is to provide a rationale for the integration of attachment, complex trauma, and sensory integration theories. It will demonstrate how attachment relationships form a foundation for how an individual understands and interacts with the world and that exposure to trauma as a child can disrupt the attachment process, resulting in deficits in this foundation. Additionally, sensory integration (SI) theory postulates that sensory input to the nervous system will initiate lasting functional changes to the brain and its output. As both attachment and trauma have direct effects on brain functions, sensory integration-based intervention poses a viable intervention technique for use with populations that have experienced trauma and those who may have difficulties with attachment.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of this LiveTalk listeners will be able to:

  1. Identify the developmental and neurobiological foundations, and functional effects of attachment.
  2. Describe how complex trauma occurs and resulting behavioral and neurobiological outcomes of trauma.
  3. Identify ways that sensory integration intervention may facilitate attachment development and trauma treatment.

Course Level: Introductory. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Suitable For: Occupational therapists, OT assistants, physical therapists, PT assistants, speech and language therapists, mental health professionals, teachers.

Domain: Client Factors
Process: Intervention

Contact Hours: This course is worth 1.0 contact hours or 0.1 AOTA CEUs.

Completion Requirements: To receive contact hours for this course you must read the article in its entirety, and complete the accompanying assessment.

ADA/Section 504: If you require special accommodations, please contact the Spiral Foundation at or (617) 969 – 4410 ext. 231.

Continuing Education:


Occupational Therapy Practitioners/ Occupational Therapy Assistants: The Spiral Foundation is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants by the American Occupational Therapy Association. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.


The Spiral Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and as such your donation is tax deductible.