Purdue University Graduate School
Autrey Thesis (1).pdf (2.64 MB)
Download file

Minds in movement: A study of the benefits of brain breaks for students with sensory processing disorder

Download (2.64 MB)
posted on 2020-04-29, 19:35 authored by Taylor Ashley AutreyTaylor Ashley Autrey
Sensory processing disorder (SPD)is a neurological disorder that effects how sensory stimuli is translated in the brain and then incorrectly circulated into responses. It is estimated that one in twenty people may have been diagnosed with SPD. Children diagnosed with SPD have responses to stimuli that are over-responsive or under-responsive and find it challenging to correctly process sensory input compared to their peers.
This IRB approved study focused on investigating the benefits of brain breaks for middle school students with SPD. Sixteen middle school teachers in one school participated in a needs assessment survey regarding their knowledge of sensory processing disorder and brain breaks and how they implemented brain breaks into their classroom.Questions were based on prior knowledge of sensory processing and brain breaks. Regarding the level of prior knowledge about sensory processing disorder, 6.25% of participating middle school teachers reported that they are very familiar with SPD, 50% of teachers reported they are somewhat familiar with SPD, 12.5% of teachers reported they are not so familiar with SPD, and 31.25% of teachers reported that they are not at all familiar with SPD. Teachers were also asked how effective they thought brain breaks are on student learning and its impact on behavior in the classroom with teachers responding that, “students seem more engaged after we do a brain break in class,” or, “I feel that they are effective because it gives students the opportunity to energize and restart.”
A handbook was created to help teachers understand what SPD is and how to recognize it in their classroom. Guidelines are included in the handbook for ways to use brain breaks in the classroom to help with sensory seeking students needing movement.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Education


  • Educational Studies

Campus location

  • Fort Wayne

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Cho

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Dr. Leatherman

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Cousik