Importance: Adolescents and adults report that their sensory integration and processing differences affect their occupational performance and quality of life, thus requiring effective sensory-focused interventions. Researchers have yet to investigate this population’s experience of occupational therapy interventions designed to remediate these challenges.
Objective: To explore the perceived experience of adolescents and adults with respect to (1) response to intervention, (2) strategies offered to manage sensory differences, and (3) need for services on completion of an intervention.
Design: Retrospective, qualitative study.
Setting: Zoom or phone call.
Participants: Eleven adolescents and adults with sensory integration and processing differences who had previously completed occupational therapy interventions.
Intervention: Sensory-based intervention based on the principles of Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI) and the Sensory Therapies and Research Frame of Reference.
Outcomes and Measures: A semistructured interview to obtain data, followed by an in-depth analysis using an inductive coding process to group initial open codes into themes and common subthemes
Results: Open codes were grouped into three core themes: (1) therapist-related factors (what the therapist did in treatment); (2) client-related factors (what the client experienced); and (3) follow-up (future needs of the clients). Four main subthemes of the client–therapist relationship emerged: (1) therapeutic alliance; (2) education and knowledge; (3) strategies, tools, and resources; and (4) future needs.
Conclusions and Relevance: This study provides a perspective on the experience of adolescents and adults specific to the impact of a sensory-focused occupational therapy intervention on their daily lives. This will help occupational therapists when designing interventions for current and future clients.
What This Article Adds: This study highlights the need for further research addressing effective sensory-based interventions for adolescents and adults. It also captures which components of intervention clients deemed helpful and identifies potential targets for future intervention.