Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Sonia Zimmerman


Occupational Therapy -- methods; Sensation Disorders


Individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness are predisposed to having a co-occurring sensory processing disorder. Many adults and children with sensory processing disorder have never been assessed or treated. Consequences of untreated sensory processing disorder include decreased ability to engage in meaningful occupations or healthy relationships, leading to lowered self-esteem and perception regarding quality of life. A literature review defines sensory processing, sensory processing disorders, consequences of sensory processing disorder dysfunction, sensory processing disorder co-morbidity, sensory processing disorders in individuals with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities, interventions for sensory processing disorders, the role of occupational therapy, deficiencies in knowledge, and controversies.

This scholarly project presents a guide created for occupational therapists to utilize in assisting them to determine which assessments and interventions may be best for clients who exhibit sensory processing difficulties. The guide is entitled "A Practitioners Guide to using Sensory Based Assessments and Interventions for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and/or Mental Illness." It is a compilation of sensory processing assessments and sensory-based interventions intended to guide occupational therapists and their clients who have sensory processing deficits. Its ultimate purpose is to support these clients to have greater success in completion of valued daily occupations and improved quality of life. The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance (CMOP) was selected to guide the project based on the essential components of Person, Occupation and Environment. The CMOP is a dynamic model of practice in which the person, occupation and environment are interconnected, with spirituality at the core. Principles of Knowles' andragogical model of learning were followed in development of the product, both for the practitioner and client. The constructivist approach of teaching and learning was used in development of the client self-rating tool, log and journal.