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OTS 35: Occupational Therapy and Trauma-Informed Care in Schools Feat. Colleen Cameron Whiting

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 35 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

In this episode, Jayson interviews fellow school-based occupational therapist, Colleen Cameron Whiting. Colleen has recently had two articles published (cited below in the resources) on providing trauma-informed care (TIC) in the school and today she brings to the podcast a model about how school-based OTs can work with other educators to creating an environment in which students feel safe and welcomed. We also dive into what exactly trauma is, how some trauma can have adverse effects on the developing brain, and what occupational therapy using a TIC model looks like.

Colleen Cameron Whiting MS, OTR/L

Colleen is a school-based occupational therapist in Massachusetts. She is also the owner of The SPARK Sensory Clinic and the Faculty of the STAR Institute. Recently, Colleen has devoted her time and energy toward ensuring that other therapists recognize the importance of Trauma-Informed Care in public schools.

Listen in to this episode and earn 1-hour of professional development for doing so, as Jayson Interviews Colleen Cameron Whiting, MS, OTR/L, on Trauma, its effects, and what OTs can do about it.

Objectives for this Professional Development Podcast

Listeners will:

1. Be able to identify 3 levels of stress and how they may impact development.

2. Identify what Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are and how many ACEs are considered above the normal threshold.

3. Identify tiered strategies to help build a trauma-informed school.

Links to Show References:

Have a question for Colleen? Visit The SPARK Clinic website at

Use this link to check out the STAR Institute and the various learning opportunities for occupational therapists working in the schools.

Every Moment Counts is a mental health promotion initiative that encourages OTs to go outside the normal pull-out sessions to create an inclusive school. They even provide free step-by-step guides to incorporating a few of their proven programs.

In the Podcast, Colleen mentions Interoception and Kelly's website, Be sure to check out her free webinars and paid course on "Improving Interoception"

Both Colleen and I agree that you need this book on your shelf if you are a school-based OT. The second edition is now available on Amazon and at (Amazon links help to support the OT School House)

Learn more about the importance of supporting children with mental health concerns from Colleen, a parent, and an educator in this AOTA Podcast.

Articles Written By Colleen

Whiting, C. C. (2002). School performance of children who have experienced maltreatment. Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics, 21(2–3), 81–89. doi:10.1080/J006v21n02_07

12. Whiting, C. C. (2018) Trauma and the role of the school-based occupational therapist. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, 11:3, 291-301, DOI: 10.1080/ 19411243.2018.1438327

Be sure to subscribe to the OT Schoolhouse email list & get access to our free downloads of Gray-Space paper and the Occupational Profile for school-based OTs.

Have any questions or comments about the podcast? Email Jayson at


Thanks for visiting the podcast show notes! If you enjoyed this episode be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts


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