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Research Article  |   September 1993
A Comparison of Structured Sensorimotor Therapy and Child-Centered Activity in the Treatment of Preschool Children With Sensorimotor Problems
Author Affiliations
  • Georgia A. DeGangi, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is the Director of the Cecil and Ida Green Research and Training Institute, Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children, 11710 Hunters Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20852
  • Shirley Wietlisbach, MS, OTR, is an Occupational Therapist, Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children, Rockville, Maryland
  • Mary Goodin, MEd, OTR, is an Occupational Therapist, Ivymount School, Rockville, Maryland
  • Nancy Scheiner, MS, OTR, is an Occupational Therapist in private practice and consultant to the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children, Rockville, Maryland
Article Information
Research
Research Article   |   September 1993
A Comparison of Structured Sensorimotor Therapy and Child-Centered Activity in the Treatment of Preschool Children With Sensorimotor Problems
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1993, Vol. 47, 777-786. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.9.777
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September 1993, Vol. 47, 777-786. doi:10.5014/ajot.47.9.777
Abstract

This study compared the benefits of a child-centered therapy approach emphasizing child-initiated play interactions within a structured therapy environment to those of a therapist-directed, structured sensorimotor therapy approach in 12 preschool children with sensorimotor dysfunction. Each child received a pretest, 8 weeks of intervention (A or B) provided once weekly for a 1-hr session, a retest, 8 weeks of intervention (B or A) provided once weekly, and a final retest. A case study methodology was used to evaluate outcome data. Structured sensorimotor therapy was more useful than child-centered therapy in promoting gross motor skills, functional abilities (i.e., self-care), and sensory integrative functions. Child-centered therapy appeared to promote fine motor skills better. Although there were no differences in the two therapies for gains in play, attention, and behavior, variables such as temperament, attentional abilities, family stress, severity of sensorimotor delay, and whether the child had received treatment before seemed to affect which therapy was more beneficial for behavior, play, and attention. The effect of the findings on therapeutic practice is discussed.