Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2023

Document Type

Oral Presentation/Poster

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Shana Cerny, OTD, OTR/L


Social emotional, positive prosocial behavior, TBRI® Nurture Group©, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), Teaching Strategies Gold® (TSG), occupational therapy (OT)

Subject Categories

Occupational Therapy


The incidence of sensory processing difficulties and related behaviors is increasing in young children, which supports the need for early intervention and support. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of TBRI® Nurture Group© in improving social emotional and sensory processing skills in preschool aged children while reducing the number of negative behaviors observed. The project was conducted in a four- and five-year-old preschool classroom at the Early Learning Center in Edina, Minnesota. Nurture Group© sessions occurred over the span of ten weeks in small groups of about three to four students. Students worked on identifying calming strategies as well as relational and behavioral strategies. The lessons aimed to foster skills such as identifying emotions, utilizing problem solving skills, making appropriate and kind choices, listening and following directions, identifying the size of a problem, and being respectful. In addition to the provision of Nurture Group© sessions, support was provided throughout the school day by assisting children in self-regulating when distressed, helping solve problems, and supporting students to participate in class activities through environmental modifications and co-regulation. Student progress was tracked using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as well as the social emotional component from Teaching Strategies Gold® (TSG) as pre and post intervention measures. Results of the SDQ comparison indicated no significant changes in positive prosocial behaviors or negative behavior areas. Results of the TSG® comparison showed an improvement in all but one social emotional category. Qualitative measures were also utilized through the dissemination of a Nurture Group© caregiver satisfaction survey and teacher interview. Both measures yielded positive feedback of the experience along with reports of the implementation of social emotional skills and calming tools across multiple environments.