IRB Number


Date of Award

Spring 4-22-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Smith, PhD, OTR

Second Advisor

Dr. Gina Benavente, DHSc, MPH, OTR/L

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Pediatrics, Sensory Processing, Self regulation, Neurodiversity, Caregivers, Education, Surveys and Questionnaires


Background: Neurodivergent children often experience differences in sensory processing and self-regulation. Traditional sensory-based interventions are frequently used by occupational therapy practitioners (OTP) and caregivers to address dysregulation. However, sensory-based interventions, while often strengths-based, are not always neurodiversity-affirming.

Problem: There are minimal educational resources available to both OTP and caregivers that promote neurodiversity-affirming sensory interventions to support neurodivergent children.

Methods: The purpose of this project was to create self-paced educational modules to teach neurodiversity-affirming sensory interventions that promote children's self-regulation. To achieve this goal, the student investigator developed virtual educational modules and piloted them with OTP, occupational therapy students, and caregivers during the capstone experience. The participants engaged with the modules and submitted responses to pre-and post-surveys. The mixed methods surveys provided qualitative and quantitative data, which was analyzed to explore participants' experience with existing educational resources and determine the modules' effectiveness.

Results: Based on mixed-methods data analysis, research participants increased confidence in their knowledge of neurodiversity principles, sensory processing, self-regulation, and neurodivergent experiences.

Conclusions: Future implications for OTP are to seek out neurodiversity-affirming research, always consider the child’s well-being first and foremost, and incorporate caregivers into treatment and goal-planning.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.