PURPOSE. To describe parents’ concerns and hopes for their children who would be receiving occupational therapy using a sensory integration approach.

METHOD. Content analysis of 275 parental responses to three open-ended questions on developmental–sensory history intake forms.

FINDINGS. Parents’ descriptions of why they sought for their children were categorized into four overarching concerns about their children’s challenges: self-regulation, interacting with peers, participating in skilled motor activities, and self-confidence. Parents often linked these concerns together, revealing explanatory models of how they make sense of potential relationships among their children’s challenges and how these challenges affect occupational performance. Parents hoped occupational therapy would help their children develop self-understanding and frustration tolerance to self-regulate their behavior in socially acceptable ways.

IMPLICATIONS. Assessment and intervention should explicitly focus on links among self-regulation, social participation, skills, and perceived competence to address parents’ expectations.

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