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Research Article  |   January 1997
The Sensory Profile: The Performance of a National Sample of Children Without Disabilities
Author Affiliations
  • Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Allied Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3033 Robinson, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, Kansas 66160-7602
  • Kay Westman, MS, OTR, is Research Associate, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Allied Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research
Research Article   |   January 1997
The Sensory Profile: The Performance of a National Sample of Children Without Disabilities
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1997, Vol. 51, 25-34. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.1.25
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January 1997, Vol. 51, 25-34. doi:10.5014/ajot.51.1.25
Abstract

Objectives. The purpose of this study was to obtain data about a national sample of children without disabilities on the 125-item revision of the Sensory Profile, a tool derived from sensory history items reported in the literature and designed to evaluate children’s responses to commonly occurring sensory events.

Method. Parents of 1,115 children completed the Sensory Profile. The children were 3 to 10 years of age and did not have disabilities. Parents used a 5-point Likert scale to report the percentage of time their children engaged in each behavior Researchers then analyzed the data, using multivariate methods to identify trends in performance and age and gender differences.

Results. Ninety-one (73%) of the profile’s 125 items were found to be uncommon behaviors for this national sample of children without disabilities. Although age and gender differences were significant (p < .001), effect sizes were so small (i.e., below .2) that differences were not meaningful for clinical application (i.e., mean differences less than .5 points). Only two items in the visual category approached a 1-point difference when comparing younger and older children.

Conclusion. There were no meaningful gender differences on the revised Sensory Profile, and only 2 items approached a meaningful difference related to age. Nearly three fourths of the items on the profile were uncommon for children without disabilities. If children with various disabilities display these behaviors, the Sensory Profile can be useful in evaluation and program planning for children with disabilities.