Note: This study was originally published in 2014… however, there are currently few empirical studies about SPD. This study is an indicator that occupational therapy does help and helped launch current ongoing studies that will help our children and countless others in the future.
The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation released preliminary results documenting the effectiveness of the STAR treatment model for children with SPD, showing the value of treatment for Sensory Processing Disorder.
Significant improvement were reported in adaptive behavior and emotional functioning after intensive, short-term occupational therapy.
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The Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Foundation has just released preliminary results documenting significant improvements in adaptive behavior and emotional functioning after intensive, short-term occupational therapy for children with SPD.
Sensory Processing Disorder is a neurological disorder that disrupts the way an individual processes and responds to sensations. Individuals with SPD may over- or under-respond to one or more sensations (e.g., a loud sound, or light touch), crave sensations or may have problems with motor skills and coordination. SPD affects more than four million children in the United States alone—an average of one child in every classroom.
The SPD Foundation’s research examined the functioning of 98 children at home, school and in the community. They were measured using the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System II, a comprehensive, norm-referenced tool for assessing adaptive behavior and skills. Intensive, short-term occupational therapy (OT) was provided at STAR Center, the premier treatment center for children with Sensory Processing Disorder, feeding disorders, and sensory issues associated with other conditions such as ADHD, autism, and a wide variety of developmental disorders.
Results show that after 30 therapy sessions, 3-5 times a week, children ages 2-13 improved an average of twelve percentile points across the parent-report scale. Overall, children demonstrated significant change, moving from the ‘below average’ range to within the typical range after treatment.
Behavior problems such as anxiety, attention, hyperactivity and aggression were also measured during the same timeframe using the Behavior Assessment System for Children – 2nd ed., with gains of between 13 and 18 percentile points on all clinical composite scores. Overall, children were reported to have significantly fewer problematic behaviors after treatment.
“The results are among the first evidence demonstrating the efficacy of the STAR treatment model, a sensory and relationship-based approach that pairs direct treatment with extensive parent education and coaching,” said Dr. Sarah Schoen, Associate Director of Research, Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation and Clinical Services Advisor, STAR Center. “We are encouraged by these findings showing changes in adaptive behavior and emotional functioning, both of which are directly related to improvements visible in daily life.”
The SPD Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of life for children and adults with SPD and their families by conducting and collaborating in rigorous research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of SPD. The SPD Foundation’s research team has engaged researchers from prominent institutions who collaborate on SPD research to further the development of effective treatment for this under-represented and often misunderstood disorder.
- Sensory Processing Disorder: Get the Right Diagnosis
- Sensory Processing Disorder Signs in Children
- The Everything Parent’s Guide to Sensory Processing Disorder
- Will Your Child Ever Outgrow Sensory Processing Disorder?
Sensory Processing Disorder Resources
Learn more about Sensory Processing Disorder:
The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing DifferencesRaising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing IssuesUnderstanding Your Child’s Sensory Signals: A Practical Daily Use Handbook for Parents and TeachersHelping Your Child with Sensory Regulation: Skills to Manage the Emotional and Behavioral Components of Your Child’s Sensory Processing Challenges
This article is reprinted from materials provided by the SPD Foundation.