Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Stephanie de Sam Lazaro


Doctor of Occupational Therapy


Despite recent efforts to improve services, survivors of sex trafficking (SST) have numerous unmet support needs and barriers to achieving optimal quality of life due to the effects of complex trauma and other mental health diagnoses. Supporting the recovery journey of SST is an emerging practice area for the field of occupational therapy. Sensory modulation in particular is one intervention within the scope of occupational therapy that has shown promise as a bottom-up approach to support regulation and participation in meaningful occupations. A training module on sensory modulation and a Sensory Toolkit resource were developed and delivered to staff at Brittany’s Place, a youth shelter serving SST, in order to improve the quality of support shelter residents receive. Content was informed by literature review along with informal interviews with staff to ensure relevance and feasibility of tools. Adult learning principles and best practices were applied throughout development and delivery. The training was delivered in hybrid format, and a survey was administered to evaluate effectiveness. Results from the surveys indicated that there was an increase in knowledge following the training. Responses also indicated that staff generally felt that the materials were relevant, and felt confident in their ability to apply the training content and to utilize the Sensory Toolkit. Findings from this quality improvement project support continued collaboration between the site and occupational therapy capstone students in order to support carryover of the training content. The project also highlights the potential for occupational therapy’s inclusion on interdisciplinary teams in this area, and the need for continued advocacy for this type of collaboration.