Pervasive developmental delay

Processing birth trauma through play

Owen suffered anxiety and speech delay after a traumatic birth. In two sessions we explored movements and pathways of birth with hands-on and with light fabric. Given the opportunity to re-play his birth, Owen invented his own way to unwind his difficult experience.  

At home Owen played with these movements and materials at his own initiative over several days, until he was satisfied with having been able to direct his own process.  In this way he was able to fulfill his mastery activities of his own birth and reshape his experience of its intensity.



Act on your hopes and dreams for your child

Children who receive PDD and autism labels have had multiple stressors in their lives that have overwhelmed their nervous systems. Stress puts development on hold. Stress triggers genetic expression towards survival instead of development. In spite of these challenges, your child can draw on the potent forces of development deep within himself to grow into normalcy. I specialize in early intervention that sets a child on course, rather than falling farther and farther behind. You do not have to give up your hopes and dreams for your child.

Every child has internal resources for development. Caring and responsive relationship, touch, movement and sensory experiences are the primary vehicles for priming and driving development forward. If your child has pervasive developmental delay, he has had the natural momentum of his development interrupted.

Take stress loads off the neural system

Stress impairs development. Stressors on development come in many forms. Stress affects the shape and internal connections of the developing brain. Stress can come from many sources, and creates different problems for each child. PDD or autism is different for every child, and so there does not exist a single fix that will cure all children. Each child requires his own solution. A child with a PDD or autism label is a complex, unique puzzle calling out to be solved.

To solve this puzzle we must look at every arena of a child’s life, since all arenas are interacting in development. What types of stressors has your child been exposed to? When in his development? How did stress affect his development? Which systems are affected?

Activate your child’s inner resources

Pervasive developmental delay always includes immaturity of the nervous system. You are the first experts on your child. What does your child do day to day – and how well is this working for him? What behaviors concern you? What is his history? Has a child experienced birth trauma? In assessment, I observe your child doing specific activities that give us an inside view on development and brain function. Which of his sensory systems are immature? Which of his sensory-motor (reflex movement) activities are immature?

Does your child have health issues; especially gut, immune system, toxic exposures, mold or yeast? I team with integrative therapists to address health problems when needed. Often these must be resolved in tandem with helping the nervous system move forward in development. Our job is to sort out what specific underlying problems have led to your child’s overall, pervasive developmental delay. Then we start working to take stressors off the child.

Early intervention puts your child on track

The earlier that these highly effective therapies are offered to your child, the more quickly that he can find his way towards normal function. With early intervention a child experiences fewer complications in his evolving personhood. As your child’s mind grows in complexity with each age and stage, the habituated patterns of the body and mind form his sense of self, including self esteem, and his identity — ‘I am this kind of a person’. Without effective intervention, persistent PDD and autism warp his continuing development, and the gap between your child’s functions grow farther and farther apart from his peers.

Somatic therapies

I provides a comprehensive evaluation for a child with PPD or autism spectrum disorder. A program of developmental movement therapy and craniosacral therapy tailored for him can help each early system mature. I tailor therapy sessions and a home program for your child. Families commit to 10-20 minutes of neuro-developmental activities daily. When needed, I team with integrative health care providers to provide a full complement of health and developmental support.

What to expect in session for your toddler or preschooler



 Movement and the Emerging Mind

Body-mind integration through play



Wobbly sense of balance


I wanted to update you on my experience since our last appointment for Isaac.  First of all I loved the way the slow rolling of my head felt. It was amazing!  I know you were showing me this so I could learn how to do it with Isaac – but I learned so much just feeling this myself. 

Afterwards I noticed that my vision shifted, going almost up and down intermittently. Everything looked funny, so I would adjust my head slightly to compensate.  I didn’t have nausea or a headache. Later that day my vision was still inconsistent, and I thought I may lose my balance when walking.  After a nap I felt better, but it hadn’t yet completely passed. By the next morning it was over.

During the next 3 days I was totally exhausted!  Seriously I needed at least a 3 hour nap to make it till evening.  I suspect processing time for my visual system and my vestibular system to get in sync.

In the meantime – great news for Isaac.  He has started completely dressing himself — even sox and pull ups! Lots of language is coming in!  I’m slowly adding the new massages and movements you showed me.

I’m glad I was able to experience my physical response to your super-simple, super-slow head turn.  It gave me an idea of how much impact even very small movements can have on the body.  I also am reminded to be extra gentle and patient.  Sometimes little ones cannot describe what they feel, and I will consider this.  Thanks — Anna