Examining if Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), a sensory-based intervention, improves occupational performance for children with complex trauma as measured by Goal Attainment Scale.
Background Children who are experience complex trauma such as neglect, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, experience development challenges and unregulated body somatic sensations. This may impact the child’s occupational performance and participation in activities of daily living. Sensory-based interventions are recognised as offering a bottom-up approach to support the body to process the trauma through a sensorimotor experience. Occupational therapists have been called upon to implement new and existing research for sensory-based interventions, therefore developing trauma informed practice for children with complex trauma. Literature Review Three sensory-based interventions for children with complex trauma were critiqued, Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), Neuro-Physiological Psychotherapy (NPP) and Safeplace. The papers indicated improvements for the child following participation in the interventions. However occupational performance was not examined, and a research gap was identified. Moreover, NPP and Safeplace are multidisciplinary models with incorporation of sensory-based intervention, therefore it was difficult to specifically assess the impact of the sensory-based element. SMART, as a specific sensory-based intervention is selected to examine its impact on occupational performance. Research Proposal A quasi-experiment one-group pretest-posttest design is proposed to examine if SMART intervention improves occupational performance for children with complex trauma. SMART intervention provides one hour of intervention per week. The goal attainment scale (GAS) is proposed to measure occupational performance, pre and post intervention. GAS provides a person-centred approach with goal selection, as well as a standardised outcome measure. A paired samples t-test is proposed to analyse the data for the pretest and posttest scores and assess for statistical significance (p=<0.05). 6 Conclusion It is hoped that the extended research proposal will develop the occupational therapy research of sensory-based interventions for children with complex trauma. As well as develop the empirical evidence for SMART, and whether it improves occupational performance. This may help support treatment knowledge, trauma processing and occupational performance for the child, and enhance trauma-informed practice for occupational therapists.