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Parents as Adult Learners in Occupational Therapy for Children With Sensory Challenges: A Scoping Review.

IMPORTANCE: Parent training is an essential part of occupational therapy intervention for children with sensory processing and sensory integration (SP-SI) challenges, and parents' learning needs should be considered.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the extent to which adult learning needs are considered in occupational therapy literature addressing parent training as a part of intervention for children with SP-SI challenges.

DATA SOURCES: Searches were performed of the following databases: MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Web of Science, EMBASE, and ERIC. The date range was limited to 1990 to 2019 to capture literature focused on family-centered care.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA COLLECTION: Using Arksey and O'Malley's framework for scoping reviews and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews Checklist, the following criteria were used to guide the literature searches: population (parents and families of children with SP-SI challenges), intervention (parent training), outcomes (parent learning needs), and concept (parents as adult learners).

FINDINGS: Searches produced 133 peer-reviewed articles, and 5 met the criteria for inclusion. Qualitative thematic analysis, including stakeholder interviews, revealed two themes: (1) Parents focus on children's needs, not their own, and (2) parents benefit from connection with peers and learn through shared experiences.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Parent training is an essential component of occupational therapy; however, there is limited occupational therapy evidence examining parents' learning needs, specifically parents of children with SP-SI challenges. Future studies should investigate parents' learning needs in relation to occupational therapy intervention for families of children with SP-SI challenges. What This Article Adds: Parents' learning needs are both rarely considered in the occupational therapy literature and important for best practice in pediatric therapy for children with SP-SI challenges. The results of this scoping review point to the need for further investigation of parent training programs specifically examining parents as adult learners.

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