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Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes... Mary Rose Brady at Attachment & Arts Conference (2020)

28 February 2020

Mary Rose Brady presenting 'Heads, Shoulders, Knees And Toes... And Eyes And Ears And Mouth And Nose - Joining The Sensory, Motor, Proprioceptive And Vestibular Dots - A New Child Development Model Of Art Therapy With Autism' at the 2020 Attachment & the Arts online conference on 14th November...


The significant year-on-year global increase of autism diagnoses presents a particular challenge for a Health Care system already under considerable stress. NICE guidelines recommend maximum waiting times of 13 weeks for clients with suspected autism, however waiting lists in the UK are generally around 5 times this length, preventing best practice from being implemented.

Early intervention for children with autism or global delay provides a unique golden opportunity to change developmental pathways and mitigate some of the more disabling symptoms that can accompany these conditions. A specific, exaggerated and intensive style of communication is required 3 in engaging and supporting a child whose preferred object is not the human face - the “go-to encyclopaedia” of a neurotypical child for establishing epistemic trust and understanding emotions through the dance of ostensive communication. For children with autism and developmental delay social communication signals are weaker and less frequent and this presents a significant unintended consequence that parents and other significant adults will in turn interact less with their children.

As a corollary a unique and dynamic child development informed model of Art therapy is required to establish a therapeutic relationship that address global developmental delay. Through identifying the minute developmental steps that are essential for the formation of relationships, language, thinking, self-regulation and learning. Art Therapy is uniquely placed to impact on the developmental trajectory of young children through simultaneously engaging the entire child development circuit. This model of
art therapy is designed to engage left and right hemispheres of the brain in order to maximise development.

Mary Rose Brady is the Clinical Director of Petra’s Place, a therapy centre for children with autism and other co-occurring conditions. Mary Rose previously worked as the BAAT Director of Operations, Advisor for Children and Young People and Lead for BAAT’s Accredited Diploma specialising in Art Therapy with Children. Prior to this Mary Rose was Head of Parenting and Creative Therapies at Coram Children’s Charity where she and her team established the first National Centre for Creative Therapy and led the pilot for the national roll out of the Adoption Support Fund. Mary Rose is a qualified Parenting Practitioner and for over 20 years has specialised in children and young people’s mental health with an interest in marginalised populations and attachment trauma. During her time as Consultant Art Psychotherapist with looked after children, she specialised in sexual abuse, separation and trauma. Mary Rose co-established the first Post Graduate training in Art Psychotherapy in the Netherlands where she was also involved in setting up research projects in Asylum Seeker Centres to assess the impact of war trauma on children’s drawing development.

The 2020 Attachment & the Arts conference will be held on Friday 14th November online as a zoom event. A film of the conference will also be accessible afterwards (A fee will also be charged for accessing the conference film as as BAAT relies on proceedings from this event to continue to provide its services to members).   

For more information and conference booking please click here

You can see highlights from previous Attachment & the Arts conferences on Facebook here and on Twitter here

You can also follow the conference live on 14th November 2020 on Twitter using #AttachmentArts