Research Article  |   March 2014
Relationship Between Play and Sensory Processing: A Systematic Review
Author Affiliations
  • Tara Watts, BOT (Hons), is Research Student, Occupational Science and Therapy Program, School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University–Waterfront Campus, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
  • Karen Stagnitti, PhD, GCHE, BOccThy, is Professor, Personal Chair, Occupational Science and Therapy Program, School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health, Deakin University–Waterfront Campus, 1 Gheringhap Street, Geelong, Victoria 3220 Australia; karen.stagnitti@deakin.edu.au
  • Ted Brown, PhD, MSc, MPA, BScOT(Hons), GCHPE, OT(C), OTR, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University–Peninsula Campus, Frankston, Victoria, Australia
Article Information
Evidence-Based Practice / Sensory Integration and Processing / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   March 2014
Relationship Between Play and Sensory Processing: A Systematic Review
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, e37-e46. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009787
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2014, Vol. 68, e37-e46. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009787
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We examined the empirical evidence to answer the research question, What is the relationship between play and sensory processing in children ages 3–12 yr?

METHOD. The PRISMA guidelines were followed to complete a systematic review. Academic databases were searched using play, leisure, sensory processing, and sensory integration as primary search terms. Of 6,230 articles initially identified, 35 full-text articles were screened for eligibility. Of these, 8 met the inclusion criteria.

RESULTS. All 8 studies were conducted within the United States. The evidence of the relationship between play and sensory processing fell mainly into the low levels of evidence: case studies and cohort studies.

CONCLUSION. This review provides occupational therapists with an emerging understanding of the relationship between play and sensory processing based on current evidence and its importance in the occupational development of children. Rigorous research is needed in the area.