Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Sensory integration dysfunction, Sensory integration dysfunction-Treatment, People with social disabilities-Rehabilitation, People with social disabilities-Psychology, Sensory over-response, Sensory processing disorder, Social/emotional challenges, Coping mechanisms, Treatment


The purpose of this exploratory, qualitative research study was to explicate the lives of 14 Sensory Over-Responsive adults with a particular focus on social/emotional challenges as well as coping mechanisms and treatments. The findings suggest that Sensory Over-Responsivity has had a far-reaching influence on every aspect of a respondent's life: from family to school to relationships to work and to play. Respondents believed that there was a link between their Sensory Over-Responsivity and accompanying social and emotional issues such as anxiety, depression, isolation, withdrawal, and lowered self-esteem, and they displayed a wide range of adaptive coping behaviors including avoidance, control, self-awareness, relaxation, use of humor, and downtime. In addition, study participants sought out many types of treatment for their Sensory Over-Responsivity most notably, mental health counseling, occupational therapy, exercise, listening therapy, meditation, chiropractic/massage, journaling, and nutritional intervention. The severity of impairment varied by participant, but overall I was struck by the persistence, depth, and breadth of Sensory Over- Responsivity within this small sample. The implication for future work is clear; while this study highlighted some interesting themes, further research is needed.




iv, 116 p. : ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 98-102)