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On Demand: Effective Sensory Diets - Evidence Informed and Practically Impactful Ways of Supporting Sensory-based Regulatory Challenges

Tracy Murnan Stackhouse, MA, OTR/L

Location: online learning available via Integrative Education's Thinkific platform

Next Available March 1st, 2024 - April 30th, 2024

Unlimited access for 45 days after purchase

Originally recorded on February 26th, 2022

CEUs: 6 Contact Hours (.6 AOTA CEUs)

Cost: $215

Course Level: Intermediate
Audience: OT, PT, SLP, educators, mental health professionals, and interested others
Course Description

A sensory diet is an occupational therapy intervention that offers an opportunity to support sensory modulation-based needs that impact general regulation on a daily basis.  The Sensory Diet is a term that has become commonly used in pediatric occupational therapy, though the intention and integrity of the concept is often poorly understood.

As originally described by Patricia Wilbarger, in the early 1970's, the sensory diet was designated for the treatment of sensory defensiveness.  With advances in understanding of sensory modulation difficulties, the sensory diet concept has emerged as a powerful strategy to address not just sensory defensiveness, but other sensory modulation difficulties including arousal regulation, emotional regulation, attention systems disruption, as well as to support socially mediated engagement.  When provided correctly, the sensory diet approach offers a comprehensive method that includes: 1) education and awareness, 2) an individualized, targeted sensory diet plan that is professionally guided and monitored, and 3) specialized, professional treatment techniques targeted at key issues of concern. 


In this course, you will learn how to establish power, precision and proper timing in the sensory diet targeted to desired outcomes. The evidence-base supporting the use of a sensory diet approach will be reviewed. Hands-on practice will encourage participants to understand the nuance of application.


Implementation of a sensory diet involves parents and other adults, so coaching them to effectively implement the sensory diet is included in the course, as is monitoring the effectiveness of the program. Case examples from children with neurodevelopmental needs will illustrate the power of matching the sensory diet to a child’s specific needs.  Finally, the sensory diet concept will be contrasted with a sensory based approach, including the "sensory lifestyle”, sensory breaks, and sensory supports, accommodations, & modifications.

Course Objectives:

The course participant will be able to:

  1. Explain the foundational principles of sensory integration and development that inform use of a sensory diet intervention to support occupational performance.

  2. Differentiate between sensory-based approaches across the continuum and evaluate appropriateness of the selected intervention based upon individual differences/client factors.

  3. Determine the sensory modality (vestibular, somatosensory, auditory, visual, etc.) and the quality within that modality as it aligns with the underlying strengths and needs of the client in order to generate examples of strategies to be used within a precise sensory diet.

  4. Utilize the learned formula of frequency, intensity, duration, and rhythmicity across sensory modalities to critique a sensory diet for effectiveness related to the intensity intervention plan. 

  5. Evaluate the proposed sensory diet and generate modifications using the learned principles, individual client factors, and impact on occupational performance using a case study example. 


Recording 1: 

Introduction and overview of Sensory Diet Concept

The Sensory Diet approach as an option along a continuum of intervention that requires clinical reasoning to select and implement. Further situates the sensory diet as within the broad framework of Sensory Integration as developed by Ayres


Recording 2:

The sensory diet is ‘prescriptive’ and individualized intervention– getting to Power and Precision in Activities ;  Includes a discussion of the neuroscience that underlies these concepts


Recording 3:

Power and Precision – Neuroscience Concepts and Evidence Based Sensory Diets 


Sensory Diets - Hands on practical approaches


Recording 4:

Sensory Diets – Hands on practical approaches


Instructional Methods

The speaker uses lectures with slides, videos, case studies, and question and answers from the original live webinar.

Course Requirements

The participant must complete the course in its entirety. Following the passing score of 80% on the post-course quiz, the participant will be immediately issued a course completion certificate that can be downloaded or printed.

Continuing Education

6 Contact Hours (.6 AOTA CEUs) awarded if course requirements are met. Integrative Education is an AOTA Approved Provider, number 11607. Distance learning - independent self-study course is offered at .6 AOTA CEUs for intermediate level, in the areas of occupational therapy service delivery and foundational knowledge. Course approval number: 03702. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. For additional continuing education information for PT, SLP, and social work, click here​ to access our CEU policy information.

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