Anita Witt Mitchell, Elizabeth M. Moore, Emily J. Roberts, Kristen W. Hachtel, Melissa S. Brown; Sensory Processing Disorder in Children Ages Birth–3 Years Born Prematurely: A Systematic Review. Am J Occup Ther 2014;69(1):6901220030. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.013755
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This systematic review of multidisciplinary literature synthesizes evidence of the prevalence and patterns of sensory processing disorder (SPD) in children ages birth–3 yr born preterm. Forty-five articles including physiological, behavioral, temperament, and SPD research met the inclusion criteria and provided 295 findings related to SPD—130 (44%) positive (evidence of SPD) and 165 (56%) negative (no evidence of SPD). The majority of findings related to sensory modulation disorder (SMD; 43% positive). The most prevalent subcategory of SMD was sensory overresponsivity (82% of findings positive). Evidence of sensory underresponsivity and sensory-seeking SMD, sensory discrimination disorder, and sensory-based motor disorder was limited. This study supports the education of neonatologists, pediatricians, and caregivers about the symptoms and potential consequences of SPD and helps justify the need for follow-up screening for SPD in children ages birth–3 yr born preterm. Research using measures based on sensory processing theory is needed.
Children ages birth–3 yr born preterm should be screened for SPD, particularly SOR.
Parents whose infants are born preterm and spend time in the NICU may benefit from education about SPD, including signs and symptoms to be alert for and techniques and approaches to incorporate at home.
Findings of this study could be used to support the need for environmental modification in the NICU.
Education of pediatricians about the risk of SPD in children ages birth–3 yr born preterm is needed to promote follow-up and early intervention services for young children whose subtle dysfunctions may otherwise be overlooked.
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