Therapeutic Activities for Early Childhood Trauma Intervention

Evaluate the session

Presenting Author(s): Dr. Alma Fourie, PhD

Date and time: 23 Mar 2019 from 15:20 to 15:50

Location: Hawthorn B  Floor Map


  1. To discuss the impact of trauma on attachment and self regulation;
  2. To discuss therapeutic interventions that can be offered to children in a day care setting; and
  3. To engage participants in experiential Theraplay activities that is fun, engaging and foster attachment.

Literature References

  1. Anda, R.F., Butchart, A., Felitti, V.J., and Brown, D.W (2010). Building a Framework for Global Surveillance of the Public Health
    Implications of Adverse Childhood Experiences. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 39, no1, 93
  2. Blaustein, M.E, & Kinniburch, K.M. Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents: How to Foster Resilience through
    Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competencey. 2010, New York: The Guildord Press.
  3. Levendosky, A.A., Huth-bocks, A.C., Shapiro, L.D., and Semel, M.A The Impact of Domestic Violence on the Maternal-Child
    Relationship and Preschool-Age Children's Functioning. Journal of Family Psychology 2003, 17, no 3, 275-287
  4. Perry, B., Dobson, C.L. Chapter 13 "The Neurosequential Model of Therapies". In (J. Ford & C. Courtois Eds.) Treating Complex
    Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children and Adolescents, pp 249 - 260, 2013 NY: The Guildford Press


Children who are exposed to family violence are more vulnerable than their peers to social, emotional, physiological and cognitive development problems that can have long-term effects on their family, friends and community. Sonshine Children’s Centre programming is anchored in well-tested theoretical frameworks and service principles, that ensure consistent, informed and individualized services that build on child development theories and understanding of child behaviour. The Centre’s interventions and services help address multiple issues such as the history of trauma, abuse or neglect, behavioural problems, and attachment disorders as well as support and encourage normal child development in normally developing children.

The Centre uses ARC framework which identifies three core domains that are frequently impacted among traumatized children and youth, including attachment, regulation and competency, which are relevant to future resiliency. The Centre also uses the
Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) to guide its service planning with children who have been exposed to significant trauma. NMT is an approach that integrates core principles of neurodevelopment and traumatology to inform work with children, families and the communities in which they live.

The Children’s Centre takes a learning through play approach, organizing the play environment in a way that provides a choice of play activities that meet the developmental needs of each child in the group. The learning through play approach expands, for traumatized children, into Theraplay which is a child and family therapy for enhancing and building attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement.

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