Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Debra Byram


Parents -- education; Sensation Disorders


Miller (2006) describes sensory processing as the way the nervous system receives sensory messages, processes the information, and responds to it. Sensory Processing Disorder is the inability to effectively process information received through the senses. This includes sensory information received through the five traditional senses of vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. It also includes information from the vestibular (movement) and the proprioceptive (muscle sense). Sensory Processing Disorder affects 1 in 20 children (Miller, 2006). Difficulties with sensory processing can negatively affect a child's participation in the daily occupations of play, learning, activities of daily living, and social interaction. Occupational therapists can assist children to engage in daily life activities that they find meaningful and purposeful (O.T. Practice Framework, 2002). For the child with sensory processing difficulties, this includes daily occupations of play, learning, leisure, social participation, activities of daily living and work. Through the process of family centered care, occupational therapists also address the habits, routines', and roles that children use to carry out their daily activities. Parents of preschool and/or elementary aged children may need help recognizing the symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder. They may also need help accessing occupational therapy resources such as referral and home program information. Community service professionals such as Early Childhood Family Education staff, nurses, social workers, and daycare providers have direct contact with children and families, and can also assist in the early referral of children with suspected sensory processing needs.

The focus of this project is to develop a set of booklets which can be utilized by parents and community professionals to access referral and resource information for the child with suspected sensory processing needs. Appendix A focuses on sensory processing information for parents including symptoms of sensory processing difficulties, the role of occupational therapy, and referral information. Appendix B targets information to community professionals, and also includes a research summary on sensory processing disorders. Appendix C contains sensory processing resource information that can be utilized by both parents and community professionals.