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Research Article  |   August 1988
An Efficacy Study of Occupational Therapy With High-Risk Neonates
Author Affiliations
  • Jane Case-Smith, EdD, OTR, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia. (Mailing address: 14771 Conway Drive, Manassas, Virginia 22111.)
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Features
Research Article   |   August 1988
An Efficacy Study of Occupational Therapy With High-Risk Neonates
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 1988, Vol. 42, 499-506. doi:10.5014/ajot.42.8.499
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 1988, Vol. 42, 499-506. doi:10.5014/ajot.42.8.499
Abstract

This single-subject research study with replication evaluated the effect of daily occupational therapy on the nutritive and nonnutritive sucking behaviors of three high-risk, premature infants. At the time of entrance into the study, the infants were 34 to 35 weeks old and were documented poor feeders. Treatment consisted of individual, multimodal sensory stimulation, with emphasis on proprioceptive and vestibular input, graded to the sensory needs of the infants. Movement components of the jaw and tongue during nutritive and nonnutritive sucking were measured during baseline and intervention phases to assess the infants’ sucking ability. A comparison of testing results revealed that during intervention the total sucking scores improved significantly for two of the three infants and that rapid changes occurred in the oral-motor function of all three infants. The results of the study suggest that occupational therapy can improve the rate of development of sucking in the premature neonate. However, future research needs to be done to isolate the specific techniques of treatment that produce positive changes.