Susanne Smith Roley, Zoe Mailloux, L. Diane Parham, Roseann C. Schaaf, Christianne Joy Lane, Sharon Cermak; Sensory Integration and Praxis Patterns in Children With Autism. Am J Occup Ther 2014;69(1):6901220010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.012476
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© 2019 American Occupational Therapy Association
OBJECTIVE. We sought to characterize sensory integration (SI) and praxis patterns of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and discern whether these patterns relate to social participation.
METHOD. We extracted Sensory Integration and Praxis Tests (SIPT) and Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) scores from clinical records of children with ASD ages 4–11 yr (N = 89) and used SIPT and SPM standard scores to describe SI and praxis patterns. Correlation coefficients were generated to discern relationships among SI and praxis scores and these scores’ associations with SPM Social Participation scores.
RESULTS. Children with ASD showed relative strengths in visual praxis. Marked difficulties were evident in imitation praxis, vestibular bilateral integration, somatosensory perception, and sensory reactivity. SPM Social Participation scores were inversely associated with areas of deficit on SIPT measures.
CONCLUSION. Children with ASD characteristically display strengths in visuopraxis and difficulties with somatopraxis and vestibular functions, which appear to greatly affect participation.
A thorough SI assessment must address perception and praxis in addition to sensory reactivity to fully inform practice and provide a deeper understanding of the SI factors that affect social participation of children with ASD.
Assessment tools commonly used by occupational therapists to evaluate children with ASD, such as motor skill tests and sensory history questionnaires, may not adequately capture critical information related to SI and praxis; thus, issues that strongly influence child participation may be left untreated.
Identification of SI and praxis deficits in children with ASD can inform the use of safe and effective intervention strategies that have the potential to expand children’s social participation.
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