Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


The Sensory Form is a new assessment and intervention planning tool utilized with occupational therapy students to teach and guide their professional reasoning amidst limited evidence. This study aimed to determine the impact of the use of The Sensory Form on student competence and confidence in assessment and intervention planning for children with atypical sensory processing (ASP). A quasi-experimental study was conducted with 84 third-year undergraduate occupational therapy students from a large multi-campus university in New South Wales, Australia. Tutorial classes were allocated to The Sensory Form or usual teaching conditions. Participants completed pre-class and post-class self-reported confidence rating scales and case study activity to assess their competence as rated by an occupational therapy academic using a set rubric who was blinded to group allocation. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as univariate ANOVA (self-rated confidence) and independent samples t-tests (case study activity) to determine statistical differences between groups. All participants significantly increased in confidence from pre-class to post-class (p < 0.001), however, The Sensory Form group did not increase significantly more than the standard teaching group. The Sensory Form group demonstrated significantly higher competence in sensory processing assessment (p < 0.001). No differences between groups were observed in intervention planning. The Sensory Form has the potential to develop students’ competence in conducting assessments for children with ASP. Future research is needed to determine how The Sensory Form can effectively support students’ overall confidence, and competence in intervention planning.


Elisabeth Michail, BOT(Hons) is a newly graduated, registered occupational therapist building her clinical experience in working with children with developmental conditions and atypical sensory processing, and their families, to support their engagement in a range of meaningful daily occupations. Ms Michail holds a Bachelor’s degree with Honours in occupational therapy.

Caroline Mills, PhD is an Australian registered occupational therapist with 15 years-experience supporting children with disabilities and atypical sensory processing in Australia, The UK and China. Dr Mills holds a PhD in occupational therapy from The University of Sydney, focused on supporting autistic children in school settings.

Kristy Coxon, PhD is a registered occupational therapist with over 20 years research, clinical and education experience. Dr Coxon holds a PhD in Public Health and is an accomplished researcher in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer and Academic Course Advisor in Occupational Therapy.

Declaration of Interest

This study was conducted as part of Elisabeth Michail’s honours project as part of her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) degree at Western Sydney University. Dr Caroline Mills was the unit coordinator for the unit in which this study was conducted. Dr Mills did not attend any tutorial classes during the study and was blinded to participant recruitment to avoid any actual or perceived bias in relation to students’ final grades for the unit.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.