• Sarah Anderson

Episode 4: My time at a child advocacy center

In this episode I share my experience working at a child advocacy center here in Arizona. I will be doing a workshop at AOTA in Boston this March on this topic, so if you are interested in childhood trauma and would like more info on how to build in OT program similar to ours join my session on Sunday March 29th.

The advocacy center I worked at had many different partners. We had PD, a children’s hospital, OCWI (DCS/CPS) as well as our therapy team. We all work together with the same common goal of helping those children who had been exposure to trauma (abuse/neglect) . The therapy team I worked with was hands down one of the most amazing teams I have ever been on. I worked side by side with clinical social workers, psychologists, counselors, as well as marriage and family therapists. I provided co-treatment 100% of the time. I never saw a client on my own. The role of an occupational therapy at the center was to help with self-regulation and emotional regulation. By focusing on these areas we were able to help clients increase function in so many different areas of occupation including: social participation, school, bathing/groom, dressing, and sleeping (this list is not exhaustive). We did this through a variety of different interventions and strategies. They include mindfulness, photovoice, The Zones of Regulation, sensory modulation, sensory attachment intervention, body-based feedback, interoceptive programming, and Touchpoints. I discuss my views and advocate for increased development in the area of caregiving programming. Caregiver programming, especially in the areas of childhood trauma is so incredibly important. Areas for future development include programs that specifically work on increasing attachment through co-occupation, small moments of joy, and educating caregivers on their own sensory profile and how to self-regulate during moments of distress.

I will continue to link studies I come across on the topic of childhood trauma/OT in an advocacy center in this post.



Dr. A

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