Our sensory system has a profound impact on our everyday experiences and how we react to our world. Maybe a noise is annoying, a light too bright or an article of clothing feels just not right. For children with special needs such as autism, ADD and more, sensory struggles may be magnified to the point where they have a significant impact on their perception of the world. What may seem just fine to us, may be threatening to them.

Understanding the sensory system and its roll in a child’s life is what I talk to Dr. Susanne Smith Roley about today. We cover a lot of exciting material including sensory seekers, sensory avoiders, body awareness and much, much more.  By the end of this podcast you may find yourself having a good understanding of terms such a proprioceptive, vestibular, temporal and spatial awareness. Wow!


Susanne Smith Roley OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA is an occupational therapist with over 40 years of experience specializing in pediatrics. Susanne is in private practice in Orange County in Southern California and co-founder of the nonprofit, Collaborative for Leadership in Sensory Integration (CLASI). She obtained a BS in OT at Indiana University, a MS in Allied Health Sciences at Boston University and an OTD at University of Southern California. She had the privilege to study directly with Dr. A. Jean Ayres and continued her legacy through education, advocacy, and research in sensory integration, a theory and intervention, which meets external criteria, such as the Council for Exceptional Children, as an evidence-based method. Her dissertation focused on evidence in early identification and intervention 0-3 with autism and patterns of sensory integration and praxis in children with autism. She is a past chair of the Commission on Practice and the Sensory Integration Special Interest Section for AOTA; and a contributing author of the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process, 2002 and 2nd Editions. She is an internationally recognized author and lecturer on the theory and application of sensory integration. She is co-editor of the books, Understanding the Nature of Sensory Integration with Diverse Populations and Sensory Integration: Applying Clinical Reasoning to Diverse Populations. She is a fellow of the AOTA and recipient of the AOTF Virginia Scardina Award of Excellence and the AOTF A. Jean Ayres Award.

Contact Information

Reach out to Dr. Smith Roley through her clinic website.