Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Kelly Dornbier


Introduction: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often demonstrate difficulties processing and interpreting sensory input experiencing over-responsiveness or under-responsiveness to sensory stimulation (Autism Speaks, n.d.). A sensory education program was created to educate the interprofessional team and families about sensory challenges children with ASD experience and what strategies can be used to prevent or decrease the number of outbursts caused by over-stimulation, under-stimulation, and their potential impact on participation in meaningful occupations. Based on the literature review, non-compliance with home programs is a major factor negatively affecting therapeutic outcomes (Rone-Adams, Stern, & Walker, 2004). However, Koegel, Bryan, Su, Vaidya, and Camarata (2020) found that outcomes are much greater when caregivers implement interventions throughout the child’s day. Therefore, collaboration with caregivers will be beneficial to help promote compliance of carrying over skills through the sensory education program.

Methodology: An extensive literature review was conducted to acquire information to create evidence-based strategies for the interprofessional team and families to use. The author utilized research articles, textbooks, and resources available from reliable databases including CINAHL complete, Google Scholar, and American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). The Ecology of Human Performance (EHP) model was used to guide the development of the education program with emphasis on the intervention approaches to develop sensory strategies that will meet the child’s specific needs (Dunn, 2017).

Results: The child’s vestibular, proprioceptive, visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile sensations can be highly impacted as the child may experience difficulties processing sensory input (Watling & Hauer, 2015). The sensory education home program provides sensory intervention strategies for caregivers to address children’s sensory needs outside of the occupational therapy environment. The program provides a variety of strategies addressing all sensory systems as every child’s needs differ.

Conclusion: It is anticipated that the sensory education program will help to educate the parents and the interprofessional team on a variety of sensory approaches that could be used outside of the occupational therapy environment to facilitate participation in daily routines and occupations.