Occupational Therapy Program Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Therapy

Copyright Statement

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College of Health Care Sciences – Occupational Therapy Department

First Advisor

Elise Bloch

Second Advisor

Sonia Kay

Third Advisor

Kate Lyn Walsh

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Background. Since the founding of occupational therapy, the occupation of sleep has existed within the scope of practice for practitioners. Sleep disturbances in pediatric clients are estimated to be between 20% and 40% (Galland, Taylor, Elder, & Herbison, 2012; Mindell, Telofski, Wiegand & Kurtz, 2009; Meltzer, Johnson, Crosette, Ramos, & Mindell, 2010; Owens & Mindell, 2011; Sadeh, Mindell, & Owens, 2011). Deficits insensory processing of pediatric clients play a role in daily functioning and possibly in the ability to settle and transition to sleep (Dunn, 2001; Foitzik & Brown, 2018). Purpose. The purpose of this study is to explore the possible relationship between sensory processing and children who do not achieve the recommended sleep duration. Method. An exploratory quantitative research design will be used to examine trends insensory presentations in children diagnosed with insomnia. Correlational and statistical regression tests will be used to analyze the collected data. Results. All four quadrants and five of the six sensory system behaviors were significantly related to the children's sleep behaviors. Predictive relationships were also confirmed between sensory behaviors, both quadrant, and sensory systems, and the sleep behaviors of thechildren. Significance. Limited literature regarding the relationship between sensory processing and sleep as an occupation exists. Thefindings of this study provide practitioners with additional information to assess and intervene with children with sleep deficits. This study informs occupational therapy’s role in the evaluation and treatment of sleep and as a member of a sleep medicine team.


Occupational Therapy


Insomnia of childhood, Sensory processing, Sleep disturbances