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The Neurobiology of Safety in Autism

February 23 @ 8:30 am - 4:30 pm


The Neurobiology of Safety in Autism –  

Understanding how to shift the underlying neural platform to enable emotional regulation, behaviour, social engagement and learning.

Joanne McIntyre, OT, MS (Psych), PhD Candidate (Integrated Listening Systems)

Irena Woodward, OTR (Principal of Family Connections) Trained in iLs, SSP

This is a practical one-day training providing participants with a deeper understanding of how the autonomic nervous system is pivotal in our ability to develop emotional regulation and behaviour modulation. Autonomic regulation will be linked to the neurobiology of early attachment with implications for later social engagement, regulation and learning. The Polyvagal Theory developed by Dr Stephen Porges over decades of research provides an innovative explanation linking physiological state to behaviour and psychological experience. Porges explains the role of 5 cranial nerves in facilitating social engagement and its integration with autonomic state regulation.

This workshop will introduce an innovative evidence-based intervention (Safe and Sound Protocol, SSP) developed by Dr. Porges shown to decrease auditory hypersensitivity, improve the ability to extract voice from background noise, decrease anxiety and elicit spontaneous social engagement in an ASD population.  


Upon completion of the training, participants will:


  • Understand the role of ANS in creating a state of safety, necessary for development of emotional regulation and attachment
  • Understand the autonomic nervous system within a stress model
  • Gain practical skills to be able to identify shifts in state and strategies to optimise re-engagement
  • Build a knowledge base of bottom-up strategies to support regulation and engagement
  • Learn key concepts of Neuroplasticity and its role in therapy
  • Understand the key principles of the Polyvagal Theory applied to working with children with Autism
  • Learn the Social Engagement System and understand key elements in building a sense of safety and attachment
  • Appreciate the role the auditory system plays as a portal to state regulation and social engagement
  • Learn key evidence of the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
  • Identify how to support children and families based on shifts in the social engagement system using the framework of the Polyvagal Theory


Integrated Listening Australia
Family Connections


Family Connections
56 Billa Rd
Bangor, NSW 2234 Australia
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