The Sensory World of a Child: Attachment and Trauma

How to Best Promote Resilience and Secure Attachment

Early attachment creates the baseline for relationships throughout our life span. Our sensory systems allow us to experience the world. Genetic factors and in utero events influence the child’s sensory capacities. In relationships, we continue to experience the flow and exchange of sensory information. It is through the sensory systems that we integrate raw data (sensory signals) that then create our behavior and emotional responses to the world.

As parents and caregivers we become the major players in the sensory world of a child, influencing the sensory dimensions of that world. In relationships, interactions that are created based on the predominance of shared sensory preferences provide a sense of security, acceptance and love. In this workshop we will explore ways to use sensory-based connections to foster a secure attachment style.

Trauma at any point in life can affect our relationships and attachment style, and these effects are especially strong in the early years. Trauma experienced both by the child or the parent can determine the tolerance, range and ability to integrate sensory input, which highly influences attachment and overall resilience in life.

The way we process and interpret sensory input, like the tone of voice, movement, facial expressions, touch of others, smell and taste often incorporates and is influenced by early memories (implicit memories) and associations that are stored in the body.

The interpretation and integration of this sensory information (i.e. sound, movement, touch, sight, smell), and the emotional relevance and meaning we give to the world around us highly influences our interpersonal relationships.

By becoming aware of this process of sensing, processing and interpreting sensory data, we can influence and shift our responses to the environment and others. Attachment styles and interpersonal relationships can be influenced by the use sensation in the context of relating to another. A well-balanced sensory world of a child has the capacity to strengthen the sense of self, counteract dissociation and orient the experience to the present moment.




"Ana Do Valle’s work in Sensory Integration provides important tools to help stabilize and “ground” children and adults with deep attachment and regulation problems. In this way she offers essential tools for Somatic Experiencing® therapists. Ana shares her rich knowledge and wisdom drawn from her thirty years background as an Occupational Therapist specializing in Sensory Integration. She empowers practitioners to do more effective therapy with some of their most challenging clients. Ana is both a gifted healer and an inspiring teacher, willing to share her knowledge and breadth of experience. I hope that you will avail yourself of her talents, her enthusiasm and her generosity of spirit."

Peter A Levine, PhD


"I have worked with and shared patients with Ana for over 10 years. Ana provides a unique combination of skills in Occupational Therapy with the technique of Sensory Integration, and in trauma therapy with the technique of Somatic Experiencing. Along with a deep intuitive sense in the treatment of children, Ana has achieved amazing results in healing many deeply troubled children."

Robert Scaer, MD


SPD and Trauma Resolution Workshop

"This was an AMAZING Course! Ana and Bob were warm, engaging and extremely knowledgeable.Content was great, format was great - very well done!"

S. W.


"This was fabulous! It added so much to what I've already learned in SE training and what else I can do for clients. Thank You!"



"Thanks so much for both of you for sharing your knowledge and expertise - this is truly one of the best learning opportunities I have participated in.Thanks also for your focus on children!"



"I am both grateful and excited about the information I am leaving with new strategies and ideas to try particularly with more difficult client symptom presentations."