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/ Halifax: 01422 652652
/ Leeds: 0113 8314433

Adoption Support and Trauma

Specialist provision in assessing and treating attachment difficulties and trauma that can be associated with children who are adopted, fostered or looked after

The Oakdale Centre is an accredited provider of adoption support services for all Local Authorities throughout Yorkshire and the Humber. These services are funded by the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) and we work closely with our social care colleagues to ensure that our clients receive a comprehensive, joined up service.

We have seen the profound impact early experiences of trauma, neglect, loss and disrupted attachments can have on the developing child’s wellbeing. Oakdale recognises the challenges that caring for an adopted or fostered child can sometimes bring.  For a number of years, we have worked with adoptive parents, foster carers, special guardians and professionals working in this field.

A child’s early experiences impact their family life and social relationships, as well as their ability to self-regulate.  Difficulties during key developmental stages sometimes leads to young people mistrusting and rejecting adults, who in turn may find themselves overwhelmed, confused and exhausted. Supporting the whole family system and the adopted child can positively impact relationships, future wellbeing and development. 

Oakdale recognises each child as an individual. Our comprehensive assessment and treatment programmes are designed to meet the particular requirements of each child and their family. Our personalised packages of care address:

  • The impact of trauma
  • Attachment issues
  • School related problems
  • Behavioural difficulties
  • Health, cognitive or developmental concerns
  • Sensory processing issues and dysregulation

A Collaborative Approach

We prioritise a whole system approach working collaboratively with parents and including relevant professionals, schools and extended family members, as required.

Our multidisciplinary team combines knowledge and experience with a commitment to robust clinical practice and provision of comprehensive therapeutic support. Families often benefit from a range of interventions and Oakdale takes seriously the need to allocate the appropriate team of practitioners to each family that we work with. 

We are committed to providing a flexible service with a range of appointment times and venues to suit our clients’ needs, including out of hours and Saturday appointments. Most of our services are provided face-to-face, but we also offer support on the telephone, via video call and online. Although most of our work is done at the Oakdale Centre, we also provide services within schools, local GP surgeries or other consulting rooms where required.  This enables us to offer outreach work and cater for families and other clients who cannot travel easily.

Our service is goals based and predicated on a process of continuous improvement that enables us to deliver a quality service. Oakdale is non-discriminatory in all respects and we promote a culture of respect, responsiveness, reliability and integrity in all that we do.

All therapists are DBS (enhanced) checked, have the appropriate professional qualifications, registrations and professional indemnity insurance.

Our assessments are informed by each individual’s unique referral information and tailored according to their specific needs. 

The assessment could include:

Developed by Sarah Lloyd, Specialist Occupational Therapist and Play Therapist

The BUSS Model has been developed by Sarah Lloyd, a nationally recognised thought leader who has developed a new paradigm for understanding and working with children with developmental trauma.

The BUSS Model has been developed by Sarah Lloyd, a nationally recognised leader who has developed a new paradigm for understanding and working with children with developmental trauma.

The Building Underdeveloped Sensorimotor Systems (BUSS) Model brings together a neurodevelopmental understanding of the impact of trauma on the developing brain, sensory integration theory and an understanding of attachment and child development.

The brain and central nervous system of a newborn baby is still at an early stage of development, and babies need an attuned adult and lots of nurture and movement experiences to allow them to grow into their bodies on a physical and an emotional level. When babies and young children are in neglectful and/or abusive environments they miss out on both aspects of this – the loving, attuned adult and the chance to grow into their bodies. This is significant because good bodily regulation and sensory integration gives the developing child a solid platform to negotiate the many developmental tasks of childhood: making relationships, play, understanding and managing their feelings, and learning.

A lot of work with children who have experienced abuse and neglect focuses on relational and psychological therapies. These can be complemented by an intervention like BUSS, which brings together an understanding of the impact of trauma on the child, the importance of loving relationships, and an inherent need to move, in order to develop good bodily regulation. The focus of the model is to support families in using games and activities that will allow them to rebuild underdeveloped parts of a child’s foundation systems.

Therapy: BUSS Intervention

BUSS Over the last three years, the BUSS team has worked with several hundred families to understand the impact that their child’s early experiences have had on their bodily regulation, and to help them rebuild those systems.

At Oakdale, we strive to make BUSS accessible for families, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. BUSS can be delivered face-to-face at our centres located in Harrogate (North Yorkshire) or Halifax (West Yorkshire), or remotely for families who live further away or would prefer not to travel. Some families opt for a combination of both. 

The purpose of the intervention is to improve a child’s sensory integration, develop good bodily regulation and build parent / child relationships, thereby providing a solid platform for the development of emotional regulation, relationships, and learning.

Involving the team around the child works well for nursery and school-age children because, while the key agents of change are parents and carers, it can be helpful for schools or nurseries to be involved and support the work where they can.


Sarah and her team have done introductory training for several thousand people, ranging from local authorities in different parts of the country, to independent adoption and fostering agencies, a CAMHS secure setting, and education.

Our Team

BUSS TeamThe Oakdale BUSS team is a multidisciplinary team. The wealth of experience that we have within this team, from Child Psychology and Child Psychotherapy to Specialist Social Workers and Occupational Therapists, brings a richness that is of great benefit to families. We’re also working with education professionals, as well as an Early Years Specialist, to add an understanding of BUSS to the way they’re thinking about and working with children in schools.

Please find the link below to the BUSS website to find out more about the BUSS model, its application to help children and young people, training in BUSS for individuals and organisations, as well as providing BUSS in education.

Feedback from parents who have been through the BUSS Model:

The impact so far on our daughter is remarkable. Our main concerns were around the way she manages her emotions, mainly at school and when playing with other children. She can feel very angry very quickly at seemingly small things. She also struggles to sit still and can’t cope with unpredictability.  These were impacting on her friendships and her learning.”

“We were struggling to understand how this physical work could help her emotionally, but the improvement so far has been remarkable. We have noticed that her reactions to unexpected situations are much more measured, school has fed back that she is calmer when she is there and that they can reason with her much more easily, she seems to be able to stay in the moment a little longer and generally seems less angry and frustrated all round. We will be continuing with great gusto and hoping that the improvements will continue!”


Visit BUSS Website

Adoption Support Fund 

Applications to the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) are carried out in conjunction with your Local Authority. Please contact the adoption support team in your Local Authority to find out more about how you can benefit from this funding.

ASF approved support that we provide: 

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