Advocating for Sensory Friendly Community Partners


This LiveTalk will discuss ways to create partnerships within communities outside the clinical setting to facilitate the expansion of sensory informed practices.


Featuring: Sarah Sawyer, MA, OTR/L
originally recorded October 21, 2019

LiveTalks are hour long audio-only podcasts. This LiveTalk is part of the Collaboration for Care: Combining Treatment Disciplines for Greater Effectiveness bundle.

Description: Have you ever wanted to reach out to places in your community to establish sensory friendly environments for their participants? These partnerships create opportunities to educate community programs on sensory integration, promote the value of setting up sensory friendly environments for their participants and create opportunities to encourage more inclusive environments for those individuals who need sensory accommodations to participate in these settings. These community partnerships can generate service referrals for your facility and increase awareness of occupational therapy services. This talk will discuss ways to create these partnerships within communities outside the clinical setting to facilitate the expansion of sensory informed practices.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this LiveTalk listeners will be able to:

  1. Identify 2 key steps to establishing a relationship between occupational therapist and community partners.
  2. Identify 2 key strategies to use to advocate for sensory friendly environments in the community.
  3. State 2 challenges or barriers to effective collaboration between community partners and occupational therapists.

Course Level: Introductory. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Suitable For: Occupational Therapists, OT Assistants

Domain: Activity Demands
Process: Intervention

Contact Hours: This course is worth 1.0 contact hours or 0.1 AOTA CEUs.

Completion Requirements: To receive contact hours for this course you must listen to the recorded LiveTalk in its entirety, and complete the accompanying assessment.

About the Speaker: Ms. Sawyer is the Clinical Director at OTA The Koomar Center and is responsible for overseeing all therapeutic activities. She has extensive clinical experience working with children and families. Sarah began her career in the United Kingdom working with children, adolescents and adults with Sensory Processing Dysfunction (SPD) across home, school and clinic-based settings. In 2003 Sarah was awarded the Elizabeth Casson Trust Scholarship from Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK, to attend Tufts University to complete her post-professional masters. Her thesis focused on therapists’ clinical reasoning. Sarah has broad experience evaluating and treating individuals with SPD and has specialized training in Listening Therapies, Trauma and Visual Vestibular difficulties. She has a particular interest in working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum and has specialized training in DIR® Floortime Approach. As well as overseeing the day-to-day running of the clinic, Sarah regularly trains and presents to educational facilities and other professionals broadening understanding of Sensory Processing Dysfunction and Sensory Integration Therapy.

ADA/Section 504: If you require special accommodations, please contact the Spiral Foundation at or (617) 969-4410 ext. 231.

Continuing Education:

Occupational Therapy Practitioners/ Occupational Therapy Assistants:  The Spiral Foundation is an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.



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