Dr. Jamie Palmer, DrOT/L of Central Kitsap school district requested that University of Puget Sound occupational therapy (OT) students research the impact of sensory-based interventions (SBIs) on attention, behavior, and academic performance for children in preschool to high school with or without diagnoses. Based on a systematic review of 33 studies, the evidence for the use of SBIs in the classroom to improve academic performance, behavior and attention is preliminary and ranges from limited to moderate depending on the specific type of SBI. The use of those specific SBIs with limited to moderate evidence is recommended for students whose demographic profiles match those of the study participants.

The knowledge translation process consisted of two primary components: developing and delivering an in-service to share findings of the present study with Dr. Palmer and other professionals in her school district, and developing and disseminating an evidence-based movement program called Break 5. School district professionals reported being highly satisfied with the in-service and reported that the program was moderately effective for regulating student behaviors. The principal and occupational therapy team expressed interest in expanding the movement program throughout the school. Given that Break 5 has only been trialed on an informal basis, research is needed to determine its efficacy. Break 5 and those SBIs with the strongest evidence should only be implemented by OTs with strong rationale, systematic outcome monitoring, and adjustment to meet individual needs.

Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


University of Puget Sound

Project Chairperson

Renee Watling, PhD, OTR/L FAOTA


Publication Date



Capstone Project





Degree Program

Occupational Therapy

Degree Level

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound