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Ayres Sensory Integration®, autism, occupational therapy, school-based practice


Presentation: 23:22

Presentation completed in partial fulfillment of a Post Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate degree at Thomas Jefferson University.


Introduction: While Ayres Sensory Integration® is an evidenced-based intervention for autism with potential application in school settings (Whiting et al., 2023; Steinbrenner et al., 2020; May-Benson et al., 2014), school-based occupational therapists perceive challenges in its implementation.

Objectives: To explore the current factors, including facilitators and barriers, identified by school-based occupational therapists impacting the use of ASI intervention in school-based practice.

Methods: Cross-sectional descriptive study using survey methodology from a national sample of school-based occupational therapists.

Results: Descriptive statistics calculated for frequency and percentages of reported responses. Top perceived barriers to ASI implementation in the school setting include budget/funds available for implementation, teacher knowledge, administrator knowledge, space, equipment, and time. The top perceived facilitator was clinician’s own education and training on sensory integration.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that school-based occupational therapy practitioners are interested in using an ASI approach to address student participation challenges, however, they perceive many barriers to its implementation in the school setting.


May-Benson, T. A., Roley, S. S., Mailloux, Z., Parham, L. D., Koomar, J., Schaaf, R. C., Van Jaarsveld, A., & Cohn, E. (2014). Interrater reliability and discriminative validity of the structural elements of the Ayres Sensory Integration_ Fidelity Measure. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 506–513.

Steinbrenner, J. R., Hume, K., Odom, S. L., Morin, K. L., Nowell, S. W., Tomaszewski, B., Szendrey, S., McIntyre, N. S., Yücesoy-Özkan, S., & Savage, M. N. (2020). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with Autism. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice Review Team.

Whiting, C. C., Schoen, S. A., & Niemeyer, L. (2023). A Sensory Integration Intervention in the School Setting to Support Performance and Participation: A Multiple-Baseline Study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(2), 7702205060.

Synopsis: This study used an online survey to describe the current facilitators and barriers impacting the use of ASI intervention in the school setting for occupational therapists. Findings indicate that school-based occupational therapists are interested in using ASI and believe it is relevant in the school setting. However, they perceive many barriers to its use in the school setting, including funding, space, equipment, time, and teacher and administrator knowledge.

Acknowledgments: Amy Carroll, OTD, OTR/L; Colleen Cameron Whiting, OTD, OTR/L; Sarah A. Schoen, PhD, OTR; Maclain Capron