2022 Integrative Education Symposium

Empowering and Connecting Pediatric Professionals
24-26 February 2022

Tracy Murnan Stackhouse, MA, OTR/L

February 24-25, 2022, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm CST

Cost: Early Bird registration by January 15, 2022, $195; Standard registration January 16th onward, $215

CEUs: 12 Contact Hours

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 on a daily basis. It 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 labs will engage participants and ensure concepts are well understood for immediate application. In addition, customization of the sensory diet around common issues including postural development, autonomic dysregulation, and social-emotional or affective issues. The sensory diet concept in the context of co-regulation and relation-based intervention is best practice and will be addressed throughout the course. 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 Autism and Fragile X Syndrome will illustrate the power of matching the sensory diet to a child’s specific needs. Finally, the sensory diet concept will be contrasted with sensory based approaches, 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. 


Day 1

8:30 - 9:00 am: Introduction and overview of Sensory Diet Concept


9:00 - 10:00 am: 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



10:00 - 10:30 am: Morning Break 


10:30 - 12:00 pm: 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


12:00 - 1:00 pm:  Lunch 


1:00 - 2:00 pm: Power and Precision – Neuroscience Concepts and Evidence Based Sensory Diets 


2:00 - 2:30 pm: Sensory Diets - Hands on practical approaches


2:30 - 3:00 pm: Afternoon Break 


3:00 - 4:30 pm: Sensory Diets – Hands on practical approaches

Day 2:

8:30 - 9:00 am: Evidence Base for use of Sensory Diet Concept


9:00 - 10:00 am: Considerations for best practice and clinical application


10:00 - 10:30 am: Morning Break 


10:30 - 12:00 pm: Problem-Anticipation - Implementing and Monitoring Sensory Diets


12:00 - 1:00 pm:  Lunch 


1:00 - 2:00 pm: Power and Precision –Clinical Population Applications


2:00 - 2:30 pm: Sensory Diets – Case Examples of Best Practice


2:30 - 3:00 pm: Afternoon Break 


3:00 - 4:30 pm: Sensory Diets – Case Examples of Best Practice

Course Requirements

Within one week of the course, the participant will be emailed a certificate of attendance following confirmation of attendance and completion of the self-evaluation.

Continuing Education

12 Contact Hours awarded if course requirements are met. Integrative Education is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Each course must be approved by AOTA, and we are in the process of gaining AOTA approved credits for this course. For additional continuing education information for PT, SLP, and social work, click here​ to access our CEU policy information.

AOTA-Approved Provider Program.jpg