Trauma-Informed Care

Understanding Trauma for Better Treatment

Occupational therapists are at the forefront of trauma-informed care. A trauma-informed approach shifts from asking, “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” Adopting trauma-informed practices can improve engagement, behavior, development of sensory and motor skills, health outcomes, as well as overall wellness. Incorporating trauma-informed care into your session will help you integrate knowledge about the widespread impact of trauma, the importance of co-regulation, and building safety and attachment. Did you know that YOU can experience burnout due to caring for others? Learn tips to prevent your own vicarious trauma and get the most out of your own wonderful career journey.

Investment $197


What You’ll Receive

A course workbook, monthly office hours, 6 months of access, entirely self-paced and online, 6.5 AOTA-approved contact hours.


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What you will learn.

Module 1

Introduction, Research, and Foundational Terminology

Begin your journey to becoming a trauma-informed provider. Utilize foundational terminology to build a solid foundation. Learn how switching your mindset from sympathy to empathy will change the way you practice. Did you know that trauma impacts motor, development, cognitive, and sensory development?

Module 2

What are ACEs and Resilience

Stand at the forefront of pediatric OT by learning about the tremendous impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on children. Take the ACEs questionnaire to understand trauma and its lasting effects throughout life. Realize that YOU are poised as a pediatric OT to support resilience, the capacity to adapt in the face of adversity. Learn the occupational profile interview to target a family’s goals and what supports or inhibits engagement of the child.

Module 3

Neuroscience of Trauma

Know the difference between states versus traits to immediately change your ability to handle behavioral issues and meltdowns. Utilize a strengths-based and child-friendly approach to become more confident in your skills. Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential model will guide your journey and is congruent with occupational therapy ideas. Investigate how sensory-based motor disorders affect performance factors.

Module 4

Trauma Assessment and FREE Downloads

Learn the various ways OTs work as a critical part of the trauma team. We are uniquely positioned to assess sensory, motor, and developmental interferences due to trauma in children. Multiple screening tools are available for FREE or at a low cost. Learn what to use and how to incorporate de-escalation strategies into assessment to build effective treatment plans with ease.

Module 5

Regulation and Co-Regulation

What are the brain and sensory foundations related to trauma? Learn how regulation will boost your own therapeutic use of self. Also, regulation and looking for physical and physiological signs of stress will allow you to be a proactive therapist to maintain control. When you feel in control of the treatment session, you can co-regulate with the student to build deep connections that are known to build resilience in trauma.


Resilience is known as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop. The ability to learn resilience is one reason research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary! You’ll learn techniques to help children and their caregivers to build resilience and incorporate them into your treatment planning and goal setting.

Module 6


Interoception is our eighth sense and is critical to understanding our own thoughts and emotions. Children with a history of trauma often show decreased ability to process sensory experiences. Working with kids to understand their own body’s internal signals and interpret external information is critical in your work in trauma-informed care. Plus, learning about interoception will boost your abilities as a pediatric therapist as you work with all children.

Module 7


Attachment refers to a psychobiological principle that is deeply rooted in development. It determines attunement and regulation, and the connections build throughout the lifespan. Therapists will learn techniques to re-wire the brain through attachment and teach them to children and caregivers. Learn John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory and the life-changing experiments made famous by Mary Ainsworth. As an OT clinician, you already have the skills to help with attachment! Fine-tune them for amazing outcomes and increase in the ability of kids.

Module 8

Using a Strengths-Based Approach to Interventions

Gone are the days of deficit-based treatment interventions. Learn how to use strengths-based approaches to motivate and meet children where they are. You do not have to convince kids to participate when they love what they’re working toward. Through your own co-regulation, building a safe space, and trauma-sensitive setting the entire team will thrive.

Module 9

Documentation and Course Wrap-Up

Learn that trauma and its effects count toward accommodations and modifications in the school system. There are multiple free training programs available for your use as a trauma-informed provider. Teach others in your workplace to utilize trauma-informed approaches for the benefit of the children and community.


Hear it from others.


Dr. Cara Koscinski

Cara is an accomplished occupational therapist, writer, speaker, teacher and overall advocate for children with special needs.

Cara has been a therapist since 1997. She earned her post-professional doctorate in occupational therapy, master’s degree in occupational therapy, and bachelor’s degree in health sciences. Along with many other achievements, she earned status as a Certified Autism Specialist (CAS) by the International Board of Credentialing – a highly regarded achievement in the health field.

Cara specializes in:

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