skip to Main Content

Sensory Attachment Intervention

“The brain constantly selects which information it attends to, enhances, and inhibits, to enable us to function. How we process this information determines our behaviour and affects our capacity to engage with others.”
Éadaoin Bhreathnach

Sensory Attachment Intervention is a therapy approach which considers the child or young person, and also their parents or parent figures. We would use the term ‘Key Adults’ to describe these people; they may be parents, Foster Carers, teaching assistants, siblings, or anyone else with whom there is a meaningful and important relationship.

This approach might be useful for children who are in Foster Care, Post-Adoption, who have experienced early trauma or adverse experiences, perhaps medical or social in nature. You can discuss with the Occupational Therapist if you think this approach might be appropriate for your child.

Our brain processes sensory and emotional information using lots of the same areas and circuits. For this reason, it is important we consider a person holistically.

Human beings are naturally social and form relationships even before we are born! This is to help us to survive, learn what is safe and dangerous, play, explore the world, and experience shared joy and pleasure. Usually when we are younger, we learn to coregulate with a trusted adult, and then also learn to selfregulate as we grow up. This means that if we are feeling dysregulated, we can choose which of these strategies feels right at a given time. We learn lots of this through our Key Adult, and so their sensory and emotional profile has an impact on children and young people.

The previous experiences of children, young people and their Key Adult(s) impacts on the way they interact and manage stress. Sensory Attachment Intervention considers these within assessment and therapy, and works with each child and their Key Adults. Recommendations will be provided for children and adults which can provide repetitive, transferable and accessible opportunities to self- and co-regulate throughout the day. This might be with nurture, exploration, play or challenge. Through this repetitive activation, the brain can make ‘experience dependent changes’; we interrupt stress and dysregulation with nurture, comfort, shared joy and pleasure.

Sensory Attachment Intervention is usually a short-term Intervention. It may also be appropriate to consider the Just-Right State Programme, or to run other interventions either alongside or following on from Sensory Attachment Intervention.

References can be found within the Useful Links page

“The perception of safety is the turning point for the development of relationships.”
Stephen Porges