Why Choose STAR

STAR Institute for Sensory Processing is the world leader in research, education, and therapy for differences in sensory processing. Families, individuals, professionals, and more come from all over the world to receive support and education from the STAR team. 

Founded over 40 years ago by Dr. Lucy J. MIller, STAR Institute is a pioneer and luminary non-profit in the sensory integration process speciality. STAR Institute has transformed the lives and careers of occupational therapists, allied health professionals, mental health providers, medics, interdisciplinary researchers, teachers, caregivers, and clients of all ages.


At STAR, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive and highly individualized therapy services that prioritize the well-being and development of every client and their family. Our approach is grounded in evidence-based practices and a profound understanding and acceptance of sensory differences. What truly distinguishes us from other therapy centers is our commitment to personalized care and unwavering family support. Allow us to provide you with an overview of our therapy services that highlights this distinctive approach: 

  • Specialized and Highly Trained Clinicians: Our clinicians at STAR Institute undergo rigorous training or are in the process of training in specialized therapeutic approaches, including Sensory Integration Therapy (Ayres), the STAR Frame of Reference, and DIR/Floortime™. This level of expertise ensures that our team is uniquely equipped to address a wide range of sensory-related challenges and developmental needs, setting us apart from traditional occupational therapy approaches. 

  • Family-Centered Care with Active Parent Involvement: We are dedicated to supporting the entire family unit. In our therapy sessions, parents are actively involved to facilitate carryover and long-term success. Our goal extends beyond keeping an individual in therapy indefinitely; it is about equipping both the individual and their family for sustained success. Parent and caregiver education is integral to this commitment, as we understand that family involvement is crucial for achieving positive outcomes. Caregivers will walk away from sessions with an understanding of both how and why various approaches and supports will benefit and support the client. 

  • Enhanced Understanding: Clients and their families leave STAR Institute with a deeper understanding of sensory differences and their profound influence on development, health, and overall wellness. We empower families with knowledge to better navigate their unique journey. 

  • Personalized Reports and Documentation: Our team takes pride in crafting highly personalized reports, documentation, and letters that are clear, relatable, and data-driven. We ensure that our clients and their families can easily comprehend and act upon the information provided. 

  • Collaborative Goal Setting: We believe in a collaborative approach to goal setting. Goals are written and reviewed in partnership with the client or client's family to ensure that they align with the client's unique needs and aspirations. 

  • Evidence-Based Practice: Our therapy programs are rooted in the latest research and advanced clinical reasoning. We adhere to best practice guidelines to ensure that every intervention is evidence-based and effective. 

  • Tailored Therapy Programs: We understand that every client and family is unique. Therefore, our therapy programs are individually constructed to meet the specific needs of the client and their family. These programs can include intensive model programs, Family Health Behavior evaluation and coaching, short-term booster programs, long-term programs, group sessions, and telehealth options where permitted by state licensing laws. 

  • Flexibility and Responsiveness: We take pride in being flexible and responsive to the evolving needs and priorities of our clients and their families. Therapeutic supports may be adjusted to ensure that they continue to meet the changing requirements of each family. 

  • Trauma-Informed and Neurodiversity Affirming: STAR Institute is committed to creating a therapeutic setting that is trauma-informed and embraces neurodiversity. We recognize and honor the unique strengths and challenges of each individual, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. 


To become the best learn from the best.

  • Founded by Dr. Lucy J. Miller, STAR Institute has been training educators and clinicians from all over the world for more than 20 years. 
  • The STAR Frame of Reference has been published in: 
    • Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy by Kramer, Hinojosa, & Howe, (2019).
    • Sensory Integration Theory & Practice by Bunday & Lane (2019).
    • An Evidence-Based Guide to Combining Interventions with Sensory Integration in Pediatric Practice by Blanche, Giuffrida, Hallway, Edwards & Test (2022).
    • The Oxford Handbook of Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Mental Health Assessment by Carter & DelCarmen-Wiggins (2019).
  • The STAR Certification pathway has been developed through a synergy of research collaborations that include neurophysiology and treatment effectiveness; grass roots therapy delivery; and research into education effectiveness. 
  • The STAR Frame of Reference is committed to neurodiversity affirming practice and enabling practitioners to unlearn ableism.
  • The STAR approach truly embodies evidence based practice in its most holistic sense: 
    • Research
    • The voices of stakeholders (the population being 'helped') 
    • Clinical wisdom and experience 
  • The STAR approach values, honors, and has fidelity to sensory integration therapy (Ayres).


  • Treatment effectiveness research:
    • committed to external validity and minimizing bias
    • collaborations with multiple leading research groups from across North America and the world 
    • contributed significantly to Ayres Sensory Integration being awarded evidence based practice status by the National Clearing House on Autism Evidence and Practice
  • Neurophysiological research: 
    • pioneered the Sensory Challenge Protocol (Miller & Schoen) and use of electrodermal activity to measure nervous system reactivity to sensory stimuli
  • STAR Institute leaders, staff, and faculty have been published in more than 200 articles, books, and chapters. 
  • Current collaboration with Colorado State University and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals. 
  • The STAR Research Mentorship has equipped and trained research-practitioners from all over the world since 2007. 
  • Emerging emphasis on participatory research and neurodiversity affirming practices. 
  • Partnership with the Autistic Empire an autistic run non-profit based in the United Kingdom. 
  • Significant contribution to inclusion of sensory domain in DSM-V autism criteria.
  • In 2002 convened and lead the SPD Scientific Work Group, a council of internationally recognized scientists with expertise in physiological, neurological, behavioral, and educational aspects of sensory differences.
  • Recipient of over $2,000,000 in research funding and grants (including participation in an NIH funded initiative).