Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Dianne Simons


A qualitative approach was used to explore the perceptions of parents and therapists in early intervention regarding sensory diets and their efficacy, particularly their goodness of fit within family routines and occupations. Open-ended interviews were conducted with therapist and parent participants and analysis of the data resulted in a model depicting how sensory diets became a "way of life" for families. The Sensory Diet "Way of Life" Model revealed seven themes that illustrated how occupational therapists in early intervention enter the homes of the families they serve and establish a "partnership" with parents to address a child's needs. Once this "partnership" is established, knowledge is transferred to parents who then transform their "vision" of their child and are empowered to generalize knowledge of sensory processing and sensory diets to ever enlarging environments. Ultimately, the sensory diet became a "way of life" for these families. Implications for the field of occupational therapy were given following the presentation of the model.


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Date of Submission