Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Janet Jedlicka


Purpose: Interoception refers to one’s ability to sense the internal condition of the body, including sensory messages from body parts and internal organs (Craig, 2002). In the past 30 years, scientists and researchers have discovered a powerful connection between interoceptive appraisal skills and self-regulation, emotional identification, emotional regulation, social skills, and nearly every task in daily life (Mahler, 2017). The purpose of this project is to provide practitioners with an educational platform that describes the sensorimotor skill of interoception applied throughout the occupational therapy process.

Methods: The development of this product was initiated with a thorough review of literature to identify areas of need. Types of sources included online databases such as CINAHL, Pubmed, Google Scholar, and the University of North Dakota Scholarly Commons. Key resources that informed the project discussed the neuroscience of interoception (Critchley et al., 2014; Stern et al., 2017; Quadt, Critchley, & Garfinkel, 2018), interoception and self-regulation, (Füstös et al., 2012; Mahler, 2017), interoception and emotion (Mahler, 2017; Nummenmaa et al., 2014; Herbert et al., 2011; Mahler 2019), interoception and occupations/tasks (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996), and the relationship between interoception and contextual factors (Dean et al., 2010; Zhou et al., 2021; Stern et al., 2017). After careful review of theories and models, the Ecological Model of Human Performance (EHP) was chosen to guide the development and content within the product. EHP emphasizes the dynamic, interdependent relationship between a person’s skills/abilities and the contexts in which they are embedded in (Dunn, 2017).

Results: An interoception toolkit and manual for practitioners was created. This toolkit and manual has six sections: Introduction to the Manual, Introduction to Interoception, Evaluation/Assessment of Interoception, Interoception Intervention Framework, Documentation and Outcomes, and Opportunities for Specialized Interoception Programming.

Conclusion: This educational platform was created to increase awareness of, and increase the use of interoception-based practices in pediatric occupational therapy. It is anticipated that this product will address a need for innovative, evidence-based occupational therapy interventions that target self-regulation, emotional regulation, social skills, and self-care skills for children.