5-Mar-2021 8:00 AM - 6-Mar-2021 4:00 PM - Online

Sensory processing and sensory-based interventions for children


Friday, March 5, 2021 and Saturday, March 6, 2021 
8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

This two-day interactive workshop explores sensory processing, sensory assessments, sensory-based interventions and strengths-based coaching approaches that you can utilize with children with neurodevelopmental disorders who experience sensory processing challenges* (including, but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) to enhance their occupational performance and participation. The first day of the workshop will highlight the different sensory systems and best practice for sensory processing assessment and interventions for occupational therapists. You will learn core concepts of solution-focused coaching (SFC) to improve your communication in effectively coaching parents and caregivers. The second day will focus on BEST (Body, Emotional, Sensory, Thinking) evidence-based interventions to improve occupational performance and participation for children with sensory processing differences in various occupations, including play, feeding, sleep, self-care, school readiness and participation in family routines and activities. Small group activities, case studies, practice opportunities, ongoing reflection and discussion will be utilized.

*Please note that the presenter’s clinical experience is primarily with autism spectrum disorder and that the case studies/videos used will focus on autism spectrum disorder. The sensory systems, sensory processing assessments and interventions, as well as the solution-focused coaching approaches can be applied to children who present with sensory processing challenges.

Preliminary workshop agenda

Day 1


Defining sensory processing
The 8 sensory systems


Morning break


Challenging behaviours: caused by sensory processing, behaviour or anxiety?
Terminology for sensory processing challenges
Differentiating Ayres Sensory Integration™ (ASI™) and Sensory-Based Interventions (SBIs)
Review of occupational therapy practice guidelines and frameworks for sensory integration and sensory processing




Identification and selection of appropriate sensory processing assessments and outcome measures


Afternoon break


Introduction of core concepts of solution-focused coaching to develop collaborate relationships, client and family-centred goals as well as evidence-based intervention plans
Introduction and review of a Solution-Focused Communication Guide for Use in Allied Health Practice

Day 2


Introduction and review of a Sensory Solutions Guide to use with families, caregivers and teachers.

BEST (Body, Emotional, Sensory, Thinking) principles model for evidence-based interventions for sensory differences in children

BEST interventions for feeding


Morning break


BEST interventions for play

BEST interventions for sleep




BEST interventions for self-care activities

BEST interventions for participation in family routines and activities


Afternoon break


BEST interventions for school readiness

Learning objectives

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  1. Explain sensory processing and the eight sensory systems.
  2. Distinguish whether the source of challenging behaviours is anxiety, sensory processing differences or behaviour-based.
  3. Select appropriate occupational therapy assessments and outcome measures for sensory processing that meet individualized occupational performance and participation goals.
  4. Implement core concepts of solution-focused communication with parents and caregivers.
  5. Select and implement specific evidence-based intervention strategies for the following occupations: feeding, play, sleep, self-care, school readiness, and optimal participation in family routines and activities.

Target audience

Occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants (OTAs) who wish to further their skills and clinical reasoning in providing sensory-based interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disorders who experience sensory processing challenges. Participants are expected to have prior knowledge and experience related to children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Speech-language pathologists and other allied health professionals are also welcome to attend.

Please note: Each participant is responsible to ensure they apply the information within the context of their licensure, provincial/territorial legislations, institution regulations, scope of practice, etc. 

Areas of practice


Client age groups

Young children (0-4 years), children (5-12 years), adolescents (13-19 years) 

Workshop level

Intermediate (3-5 years of experience with children with neurodevelopmental disorders)

Please note: Participants with more or less than this stated level of experience are welcome to attend the workshop. The workshop content will be geared towards those with 3-5 years of experience.


Moira Pena, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Moira Pena, BScOT, MOT, OT Reg. (Ont.) is an experienced occupational therapist who has dedicated her career to supporting individuals who experience sensory processing, behavioural and emotional challenges. She holds training credentials from the STAR (Sensory Therapies and Research) Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, the premier clinic for the treatment of children and adolescents with sensory processing challenges. Moira uses Solution-Focused Coaching (SFC) principles in her practice with kids diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental delays at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto. She is an Expert Hub Team member of the ECHO Ontario Autism Program which aims to further develop pediatricians’ skills to screen, diagnose and manage children and youth with ASD in Ontario. Moira has given several workshops to parents, teachers, pediatricians and other health care professionals and is a regular guest lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Registration fees:

Early bird rates: Registration and payment completed by December 23, 2020

CAOT Member and Associates

Non member*



Plus applicable taxes

Regular rates: Registration and payment completed between December 24, 2020 and February 17, 2021 

CAOT Member and Associates

Non member*



Registration deadline: February 17, 2021

*When available, CAOT offers late registration for workshops at the regular rate plus a $50 administration fee.  We will only be able to accommodate if there is sufficient space.

Included in your registration fee:

Two-day workshop, electronic copy of presentation slide handouts, opportunity to network and make connections with other occupational therapists interested in this topic, one-hour Q&A webinar with the presenter approximately 1 month following the workshop, electronic certificate of attendance.

Maximum number of registrants:  

Save the date:
Q&A Webinar


Cancellation/refund policy:
All cancellation/refund requests must be sent in writing to education@caot.ca. All cancellation requests received prior to February 17, 2021 will be given a full refund minus a $50.00 administrative fee. All cancellation/refund requests after February 17, 2021 will be given a 50% refund. Substitutions are permitted, subject to a $50.00 administrative fee. 

CAOT reserves the right to modify the workshop title, description, preliminary agenda, registration dates and information on the workshop webpage. CAOT will notify participants on or before January 22, 2021 if there is insufficient registration by that date and reserves the right to cancel a Workshop due to insufficient registration up until February 5, 2021. CAOT reserves the right to modify the offering, interrupt Workshops, change the timing of a Workshop, change the technology for the workshop, cancel a Workshop due to the presenter no longer being able to present the Workshop, technical difficulties, severe weather, power failure, building closures or other special circumstances that are beyond the control of CAOT by notifying participants as soon as possible. If the Workshop is cancelled by CAOT, registrants will receive a full refund of the registration fee. CAOT will not be responsible for other costs or expenses incurred by registrants as a result of any such changes.

Additional questions?
If you would like to inquire on accessibility options available to you, please contact education@caot.ca or 1-800-434-2268 ext. 222.

If you would like to attend this workshop in another location, please complete this brief survey to let us know. Please note that the registration fee may vary from one location to another as there are different costs involved.

We invite you to consult the Workshop FAQ for an immediate response to the most frequent questions we receive regarding Workshops. Please do not hesitate to contact us at education@caot.ca or 1-800-434-2268 ext. 222 should you have additional questions or concerns.



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