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In the past decade, the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Intellectual Disabilities (ID), has increased. Sensory processing is an area of need for individuals with ASD and ID that requires specialized interventions. In best practices, these services are delivered by an interdisciplinary team, often consisting of an occupational therapist, speech language pathologist, behaviorist and special education teacher. Yet, to date there has been limited research examining interdisciplinary collaboration with the many professionals on the team. The purpose of this study was to empirically examine the interdisciplinary team practices at a special education center in Northern California. This research employed interview methods and qualitative analysis. Results informed a conceptual practice model for collaboration as a highly intentional practice. The model depicts sensory needs of individual students and thusly sensorimotor programming for the classroom as a priority for the interdisciplinary team. Final themes from the analysis as essential to collaboration were: taking action, communicating, addressing barriers, reinforcing team values and understanding interdisciplinary roles. Implications for practice include advocating for the scope of OT, active engagement in the collaborative process at the IEP level, taking leadership roles, creating opportunities for collaboration, engagement in dialogue with administration and formal inservice training.


Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor

Laura Greiss-Hess, PhD, OTR/L

Publication Date

Fall 2017


San Rafael, CA


Interdisciplinary, Collaboration, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities, Special Education, Sensorimotor Programming, Occupational Therapy


Medicine and Health Sciences | Occupational Therapy | Special Education and Teaching


Embargoed until November 2019

A Collaborative Approach to School-Based Sensorimotor Programs