Date Presented 04/22/2023

In the client-centered care philosophy, the OT process incorporates parent input regarding their child’s care. Through a mixed-methods analysis, this capstone project examined the potential of a novel web-based tool, the Eight Senses Goal-Setting Assistant (ESGSA), to assist parents in OT goal setting for their children with sensory issues.

Primary Author and Speaker: Analyn Joens

PURPOSE: To examine the potential of the Eight Senses Goal Setting Assistant (ESGSA) tool to supplement the goal-setting process and to determine multiple aspects of parents’ perception of the ESGSA’s utility as a tool to assist them in goal setting.

DESIGN: Through a mixed-methods analysis, this study examined the potential of a novel web-based tool, the Eight Senses Goal-Setting Assistant (ESGSA), to assist parents in OT goal setting for their children with sensory issues. The two processes used in Phase 1 to collect information on sensory concerns from participants were direct parent interviews and parents’ autonomous use of the ESGSA tool. These data collection processes share a similar inquiry flow. However, the goal-setting process differs from the ESGSA compared to the interview model. The evaluating therapist is present in the interview model for the goal writing process. In contrast, the therapist is not present when parents use the ESGSA tool to choose goals. In Phase 2 of the study, the OT administered the summative rating scale face-to-face or online based on parent preference. Summative rating scales were completed during the two weeks after Day 90 of OT service.

RESULTS: Qualitative data analysis concluded that the ESGSA does serve to supplement parental ability to describe their child’s sensory problems in the domains of attention, emotion, and sensorimotor functions, but not in the social domain. The quantitative analysis of the parent rating scale data concluded that: (1) most parents felt that ESGSA’s description of sensory problems and their child’s sensory concerns were accurate, (2) most parents felt that the ESGSA was an essential tool to assist them in setting goals, focusing on their child’s needs, and quickly identifying sensory problems, and (3) all parents felt the ESGSA was easy to use and that they could rely on the tool to derive both auto-generated goals and recommended therapy activities to use with their child at home. Lastly, parents were found to use the ESGSA tool to update therapy goals.

CONCLUSION: The result of this pilot study suggests that the ESGSA, as a parent-inclusive tool, can accurately describe parental concerns and a child’s sensory challenges, thereby elevating it to a valid tool for consideration by OT clinicians operating within the family-centered care model. The ESGSA’s components may be one tool to assist parents in effectively communicating their concerns and hopes for the intervention. This study suggests that ESGSA is easy to understand and informative to those with little knowledge of sensory processing issues. In addition, there may be a utility of the tool outside of parental usage. Thus, perhaps this tool could be generalized for use by babysitters, extended caretaking family, teachers, psychologists, counselors, etc. The ESGSA tool is recommended as one resource to supply families with appropriate and supplemental vocabulary to describe their concerns and partake in their child’s assessment, goal setting, and progress review process.


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