Conversations with Sarah

Interview with Michelle Suarez PhD, OTR, Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department at Western Michigan University. She has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Heath Science also from Western Michigan University.

In this conversation Dr. Michelle Suarez and Dr. Sarah Schoen discuss children with food selectivity and her intervention program called Finicky Feeders. She describes components of the intervention as well as recent evidence on the effectiveness of this program specifically for children on the autism spectrum with sensory over-responsivity.


Interview with Beth Ohanneson, MS, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. A large part of her practice is parents of children who have sensory integration and processing challenges.

In this conversation Beth Ohannenson and Dr. Sarah Schoen discuss the importance of addressing the needs of parents and strategies to support families of children with sensory over responsivity. She describes both group and individual interventions based on the principles of the Hand in Hand approach which emphasizes the ‘How to’ of being a ‘Good Enough Parent.’ Beth also discusses findings from a Survey study she conducted documenting the challenges of parenting a child with over-responsivity.


Interview with Dr. Amy Armstrong-Heimsoth, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Northern Arizona University on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus. She is also an academic mentor for the Institute for Translational Research Education for the University of South Florida.

Dr. Armstrong-Heimsoth will be talking today about children in the foster care system. She will discuss occupational therapy’s role in supporting the needs of this population as well as new directions for screening and intervention.


Interview with Diane Parham, PhD, OTR, FAOTA. Dr Diane Parham is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and School of Medicine at the University of New Mexico. 

Dr. Parham teaches and conducts research within the Occupational Therapy Graduate Program. Her expertise is in addressing sensory integration challenges of children with developmental, behavioral, or learning difficulties.

Dr. Parham will be talking today about the upcoming release of the new Sensory Processing Measure 2. She will discuss the new features of the measure as well as highlighting the use of the SPM2 when conducting a comprehensive sensory integration and sensory processing assessment.


Interview with Dr. Hedman, founder of Wonder Stories. He is a graduate of MIT and holds a PhD from Media Lab. His research included a focus (in collaboration with STAR) on the use of using wearable sensors to measure physiological arousal during occupational therapy.

Dr. Hedman will be talking today with Dr. Schoen about transforming reading into a multisensory experience and its implications for arousal regulation and relationship building. He will also talk about how Wonder Stories can be a mechanism for building experiences of success as well as addressing some of the learning needs of individuals with sensory processing and integration challenges.  



Interview with Dr. Tami Bar Shalita, an occupational therapist from Israel. She is a faculty member and is a researcher in the Occupational Therapy Dept at Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Bar Shalita talks about her latest publication in Frontiers in Integrated Neuroscience on sensory over-responsivity. She shares new conceptualizations of SOR and its relation to pain and discusses clinical implications.

This research was in collaboration with Tami Bar-Shalita, Yelena Granovsky, Shula Parush and Irit Weissman-Fogel. The publication appears in Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 2019 entitled, Sensory Modulation Disorder(SMD) and Pain: A New Perspective.



Interview with Dr. Erna Blanche, PhD, OTR/L, Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and co-founder/co-owner of Therapy West, Inc. clinic in southern California

Dr. Blanche and Dr. Schoen discuss  assessment in sensory integration and processing. Dr. Blanche shares information about her new test that is soon to be published called Structured Observations of Sensory Integration – Motor Scale as well as touching upon issues related to Telehealth Assessment.



Interview with Carrie Schmitt, MS, OTR/L, Part-time STAR Therapist and STAR Instructor/Enrolled in the post professional OTD program at Boston University

Carrie Schmitt and Dr. Schoen will discuss current conceptualizations of interoception. Specifically they will discuss re-conceptualizations of Interoception for individuals with sensory processing and integration challenges in light of recent literature as well as thoughts about how to apply these ideas to practice.  



Interview with Dr. Stacey Reynolds, Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Reynolds will discuss issues related to dosage of interventions for individuals with sensory processing and integration challenges. Specifically she will address what the literature tells us about intensity, duration and frequency.



Interview with Dr. Shelly Lane, Professor and Program Director at Colorado State University

Dr. Lane discusses with STAR Institute's Dr. Schoen how to access vital information from the 3rd edition of her co-authored book with Dr. Anita Bundy, Sensory Integration Theory and Practice. Specifically, they discuss how to use the book to enhance knowledge and clinical skills related to the assessment and treatment of individuals with sensory processing and integration challenges.


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