Teresa A. May-Benson, Jane A. Koomar; Systematic Review of the Research Evidence Examining the Effectiveness of Interventions Using a Sensory Integrative Approach for Children. Am J Occup Ther 2010;64(3):403-414. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2010.09071.
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© 2016 American Occupational Therapy Association
Twenty-seven studies were systematically reviewed to identify, evaluate, and synthesize the research literature on the effectiveness of sensory integration (SI) intervention on the ability of children with difficulty processing and integrating sensory information to engage in desired occupations and to apply these findings to occupational therapy practice. Results suggest the SI approach may result in positive outcomes in sensorimotor skills and motor planning; socialization, attention, and behavioral regulation; reading-related skills; participation in active play; and achievement of individualized goals. Gross motor skills, self-esteem, and reading gains may be sustained from 3 mo to 2 yr. Findings may be limited by Type II error because of small sample sizes, variable intervention dosage, lack of fidelity to intervention, and selection of outcomes that may not be meaningful to clients and families or may not change with amount of treatment provided. Replication of findings with methodologically and theoretically sound studies is needed to support current findings.
Demonstrated significant effects for the SI approach over no treatment (Ottenbacher, 1982b; Vargas & Camilli, 1999);
Did not support SI as an effective treatment of academic problems and was unclear on whether the SI approach was more effective than perceptual–motor approaches (Polatajko et al., 1992);
Demonstrated it to be unproven and ineffective (Hoehn & Baumeister, 1994); and
Had medium effect sizes for psychoeducational and motor outcomes and was as effective as alternative interventions (Vargas & Camilli, 1999).
What is the effectiveness of interventions using the SI approach (including the effect of context [cultural, physical, social, personal, spiritual, temporal, and visual]) to create, promote, establish, restore, maintain, modify, and prevent future limitations in ADLs, IADLs, education/transition, play/leisure, and social participation in children and adolescents whose SI and processing patterns are interfering with everyday life participation?
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