Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Rachel Diamant, PhD, OTR/L, BCP


Trauma can be defined as an actual or posed threat that could cause or has caused harm to an individual (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2018). Situations that put a child at risk or have the perceived threat of putting a child’s life at risk are defined as traumatic and can cause serious detrimental developmental changes. For this particular doctoral project, programs were designed by an occupational therapy student for Tennyson Center for Children, a facility that works with at-risk children and their families, to address concerns in both the school and community-based setting for children who have experienced trauma. Programs implemented included a healthy eating and behavior self-regulation group, consultation with mental health providers and individualized occupational therapy interventions to families and children in the home setting. Healthy eating curriculums and eating related challenges have not previously been addressed by programs at Tennyson Center for Children. After the completion of a needs assessment, these programs were determined to be beneficial for children and families at the facility. The Healthy Brains, Healthy Bodies program was developed to support students in identifying alertness levels, and consequently understanding how these levels can affect the types of food they consume. Educating both parents/caregivers, students and staff on the importance of nutrition in daily life and the role of mealtime routines was imperative for the success of this program. In addition to mealtime-related programs, the occupational therapy student intern provided consultation and interventions in family sessions to address occupational therapy related concerns to help families build healthy attachments. These services were provided alongside a mental health professional to deliver the most comprehensive care for each family.