Cathy Horder

Experienced Parenting Practitioner helping families of children with special needs to engage and communicate in new ways through play and increased self-awareness.

How I help tired and anxious parents find peace...

Read More

Cathy Horder

Experienced Parenting Practitioner helping families of children with special needs to engage and communicate in new ways through play and increased self-awareness.

How I help tired and anxious parents find peace...

Read More

Raising children is a challenging role.

Raising children with special needs is a particularly challenging role. This dynamic adds an extra layer (or ten) of uncertainty and unpredictability, which can leave parents feeling overwhelmed, guilty or disconnected from their child. 

When put into a high stress situation, it’s not uncommon for parents to view their child’s behaviour as negative or embarrassing. This can create a cycle of stress between the adult and child.

This is a normal human response to stress. 

Through recognised techniques of engagement and play, we help you to better understand yourself and your reactions to your child. This in turn supports you to effectively manage these challenges and to calm and soothe both yourself and your child.

You may be feeling at your wit’s end, or be sleep deprived. 

You may also be feeling angry and frustrated with your child’s behaviour, and with the world in general. 

But just like putting on your oxygen mask first in case of an emergency on an airplane, we’re going to equip YOU with the tools you need to better understand yourself and your reactions to your child’s behaviours. We will help you develop the resources you need to more effectively manage these challenges.  In following this process, we will help your child develop too. 


Hi, my name is Cathy Horder.

Every child is unique, and every child has a message to share with the world. 

My mission as a qualified and highly skilled Occupational Therapist and experienced parenting practitioner of over 30 years is to enable parents, particularly those with a neurodiverse child, to be truly present through learning the emotional signals and behaviours of their child, which will allow for life-long connection, acceptance and shared joy.

I work primarily with children from infancy through to pre-teen, and specialise in assisting parents of children with special needs including:
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Sensory Processing challenges
  • Developmental Coordination Disorder
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Attentional challenges
  • Behavioural issues
  • Social-emotional concerns
Utilising recognised sensory processing techniques and universally accepted scientific research including DIR® Floortime principles, I offer both parents and their children alike, a safe space to learn how to deepen the family bond.


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“It’s time to breathe. You don’t have to be totally tuned into your children 100% of the time. Scientists and researchers of developmental psychology have found that when a parent is truly present and attentive to their child for at least 30-50% of the time, this is ‘good enough’. Even D. Winnicott who is a famous paediatrician and psychoanalyst from the 1950’s spoke about ‘the good enough’ mother. Now we also know that ‘repairing’ communication ‘breakdowns’ with our child offers further opportunities for attuned connections. So it’s important you take down the pressures you’re placing on yourself, knowing that ‘good enough’ is actually ‘great’!”

Occupational Therapy with an Edge

The reason I used to have a referral wait list of 6-12 months in my 1:1 practice, was not because I offered an exclusive magic pill or instant results, but rather, it was my unique approach to focussing on support for the parent, not simply for the child.

By exploring and adapting parental influences and patterns, every parent / child relationship can be strengthened to allow the child to feel safe and completely seen and heard. When you have a greater understanding of what you as a parent are doing well, as well as the strengths you have to adapt in any given moment and the knowledge of how to read your child’s emotional signals, you reframe how you observe yourself as a parent. This process develops your child’s capacity to demonstrate feelings and actions they may have struggled to show until now.



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"Your child is like a sponge. They soak up any negative feelings you experience, and in their own capacity, they try to make their mum or dad feel happy again. When you can welcome your own feelings, and self-soothe, you create space for your child to become aware of what they are feeling, thereby facilitating a nurturing  environment where learning takes place in relationship with another.”

Program foundations


Safety is a basic and primal need, and is the foundation of trust and communication.

  • Safety is more than the removal, or lack of threat; it also requires us to recognise, and attune to the emotional state of another.


Love and connection are core needs.

  • When these needs are not met, we can experience levels of pain, distress, fear, shame and diminished physical and mental health.
  • Treasure moments not milestones. Look into your child’s eyes for at least 10 seconds with a sense of appreciation and curiosity about who they are, what they are thinking, how they are feeling, and where they draw inspiration from.There is nothing for you to do but be present to your child and delight in the connection.


The way our mind and body responds to the changing demands of the environment is evident in our ability to regulate our behaviour

  • As we transition from one moment to the next, what is going on internally in our brains and in our body determines how effectively we meet the demands of the external world around us. The more we understand how our mind, brain and body work together, the more able we are to function at our optimal level, no matter what the demands are.
  • Coming to know what it is to feel calm within will lead to a reflection of this in your child.


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