SAFE PLACE: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach to Treating Children with Complex Trauma and Sensory Processing Disorder – A Training Program


This course will discuss the SAFE PLACE model of care, including core assessment strategies and intervention principles.


Access to this course is restricted to 60 days from date of purchase. All parts of the course, including the exam, must be completed in that time in order to receive CEU credit. 

Presented in conjunction with OTA The Koomar Center

with Sarah Sawyer, MA, OTR/L and Teresa May-Benson, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA

OTs working with children with sensory processing challenges are increasingly addressing co-morbid trauma and attachment concerns. Effective interventions are limited. This workshop will provide participants with the assessment and intervention knowledge necessary to implement the SAFE PLACE program, a multi-disciplinary sensory integration-based intervention for addressing attachment and complex trauma concerns in children with sensory processing dysfunction. The SAFE PLACE intervention program involves occupational therapists, mental health professionals, parent and child and encompasses concepts and philosophies from sensory integration, attachment, and complex developmental trauma theory. The SAFE PLACE model of care and core assessment strategies and intervention principles will be presented. Case studies will illustrate the components, implementation and outcomes of the intervention program. Participants will evaluate their own sensory processing style and reflect on how their sensory processing style facilitates or hinders interactions with their clients.

Learning Objectives By the end of the course participants will be able to:

  1. Describe a theoretical model which integrates concepts of sensory integration, complex trauma and attachment.
  2. State the components necessary to implement the SAFE PLACE program in clinical practice.
  3. Identify appropriate sensory, motor, trauma and attachment assessments to comprehensively evaluate children.

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


  • Part 1: Introduction to SAFE PLACE (1hr 22 mins)
  • Part 2: Assessment and Intervention Processes (1.5hrs)
  • Part 3: Intervention (2hrs)
  • Part 4: Fidelity Measure for SAFE PLACE (1.25hrs)

Suitable For: Occupational therapists, OT assistants, Mental Health professionals

Domain: Performance Skills
Process: Intervention

Contact Hours: This course is worth 6.0 contact hours or 0.6 AOTA CEUs.

Completion Requirements: To earn contact hours for this course participants must view the recorded course in its entirety, complete all home activities, and complete the accompanying online exam.

About the Speaker: Sarah Sawyer is the President, Co-Owner, and Clinical Director at OTA The Koomar Center. Sarah has broad experience evaluating and treating individuals with SPD and has specialized training in Listening Therapies, Trauma and Visual Vestibular difficulties. Sarah regularly trains and presents to educational facilities and other professionals broadening understanding of Sensory Processing Dysfunction and Sensory Integration Therapy.

Teresa A. May-Benson, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA is the Executive Director of the Spiral Foundation as well as a practicing occupational therapist at OTA The Koomar Center. She is active in conducting research related to sensory integration through the Spiral Foundation’s Sensory Processing Research Center and Laboratory. She is a well-known lecturer and researcher on sensory integration theory and intervention, has authored book chapters and articles on praxis and sensory integration, and completed her doctoral dissertation on ideational praxis. Dr. May-Benson received her bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University and her master’s degree from Boston University with a concentration in sensory integration and school system therapy. She was a Maternal and Child Health Fellow in the Doctoral Program in Therapeutic Studies at Boston University. She has received the Virginia Scardinia Award of Excellence from AOTA for her work in ideational praxis.

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


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

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