Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Autistic Disorder -- therapy; Child; Child Development Disorders, Pervasive -- therapy; Parent-Child Relations; Sensation Disorders -- therapy


In the past 10 years the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) has increased to 1 in every 150 children (Case-Smith & Arbesman, 2008). According to Greenspan and Wieder (1997), 95% of these children diagnosed with ASD experience sensory modulation problems. Having a child with ASD can have a significant impact on family dynamics during the first years post-diagnosis. The findings of a qualitative study by Werner Degrace (2004) suggest that family life revolves around the preoccupation with the child’s behaviors. The findings further indicate that social and leisure involvement are sacrificed to manage the child’s behaviors at the cost of the family’s health and well-being. Case-Smith and Arbesman (2008) surmised that sensory integration is effective when individualized to the child’s unique sensory needs. Occupational therapists can provide the family of a child diagnosed with ASD sensory integration strategies to help fulfill their child’s sensory needs, which should facilitate management of disruptive behaviors.

An extensive literature review of the quality of life for families with a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder was completed as part of this project. The literature reviewed included: symptomology of ASD, sensory related evaluations, interventions with ASD, and the impact on the family’s quality of life. This review of literature indicated that there is a need for families to engage in their community in order to bond and feel “normal”. The product of this scholarly project was the development of a manual for parents. The On-The-Go manual was designed as a supplement to the Sensory Profile© (Dunn, 1999). It is intended that occupational therapists will use Sensory Profile© to identify a child’s sensory needs and then use the On-the-Go manual with parents to allow them to create their own sensory kit for their child’s unique needs. It is anticipated that an On-The-Go sensory kit for families to use when bringing their child(ren) with ASD into the community setting will help facilitate their community involvement while giving them the tools to help manage their child’s unique symptoms and behaviors.