What happens to attachment when nurturing is not as it should be?

As OT’s using Ayres’ Sensory Integration, we are mindful of her early work which reminded us of the importance of sensory input in developing the mother-infant bond, a building block which she saw as essential for emotional stability alongside sensory-motor and sensory-perceptual skills that underpin our ability to engage in purposeful activity.

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Ayres’ recognised the importance of being able to take in, process and integrate sensory input not just for activity and praxis but also for future health and well-being, including the development of self-esteem, self-control, and self-confidence.

I am constantly amazed by her vision and insight, and how she built on the seminal and emerging neuroscience of her peers, how she valued this work of others and built on it, leaving a legacy that has continued to be developed and researched by others since her.

A lovely article “The Neurobiology of Attachment to Nurturing and Abusive Caregivers” by Regina Sullivan summarises more recent literature and helps remind us about and understand more why positive experiences or nurture from the primary caregiver are essential. This nurture is experienced through the senses, and when what is experienced is not as it should be, in early phases of critical development, it irrevocably changes the brain.

” a mother’s sensory stimulation of the infant is  the hidden regulator of the infant’s physiology and behavior”

Myron Hofner 1994

To read the full article please click here

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