Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: August 2016
Published Online: August 01, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2021
The Relationship Between Sensory Processing and Participation in Daily Occupations for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Author Affiliations
  • University of Kansas
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Evidence-Based Practice / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Sensory Integration and Processing / Assessment/Measurement
Poster Session   |   August 01, 2016
The Relationship Between Sensory Processing and Participation in Daily Occupations for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011500044. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO4113
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, August 2016, Vol. 70, 7011500044. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.70S1-PO4113
Abstract

Date Presented 4/8/2016

This systematic review evaluated and integrated current evidence about the impact of sensory processing on participation in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Evidence from medium- and low-level studies concluded that sensory processing significantly affected participation in children with ASD.

Primary Author and Speaker: Noor Ismael

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate, summarize, and integrate current evidence about the impact of sensory processing on participation of elementary school-age children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
BACKGROUND: Previous research showed variability in measuring sensory processing in ASD in terms of measures used and population’s age (Ben-Sasson et al., 2009), which contribute to difficulty in interpreting and summarizing findings of these studies. In an attempt to clarify the status of the literature, this systematic review was limited to studies that evaluated sensory processing in children with ASD ages 5–13 yr based on Dunn’s (2014) sensory processing framework (DSPF). DSPF emphasizes a strength-based perspective to use sensory patterns to highlight children’s assets and support children’s participation in daily life
DESIGN: Systematic review
SAMPLE: The search included peer-reviewed research articles published in English between 1997 and 2015 to locate studies since the evolution of DSPF. Inclusion criteria included studies on children with ASD ages 5–13 to focus on patterns of participation for elementary school-age children. Potential studies evaluated sensory processing based on DSPF and used the Sensory Profile. Outcomes included participation in different daily occupations based on the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework.
Excluded studies did not meet the inclusion criteria as described previously: They used tools to measure sensory processing other than the Sensory Profile, focused on specific performance skills rather than participation, and focused on sensory processing disorder, and the sample did not include children with ASD.
MEASURES: Sensory Processing: The Sensory Profile Series.
PARTICIPATION: The review focused on participation components that relate to different areas of occupations and in natural contexts as covered in the Framework. The review excluded studies that solely evaluated person factors as outcome measures.
PROCEDURES: This systematic review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Electronic search included the following databases: CINAHL, PubMed, ProQuest, Cochrane, ERIC, and OTseeker and implemented specified search terms. Other searches included hand search of reference lists and occupational therapy journals and contacting scholars in the field of autism and sensory processing
ANALYSIS: Critical analysis of eligible studies included assigning a level of evidence and assessing studies’ strengths and limitations.
RESULTS: Systematic search of the literature identified 608 articles after removing duplicates. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. The PRISMA flow chart showed the process of identifying studies for inclusion. Included studies investigated the impact of sensory processing of a total of 330 children of ASD or their parents. Included studies utilized a case–control, a pretest– posttest, or descriptive correlational or cross-sectional research designs. Included studies varied in measuring participation outcomes by investigating the impact of sensory processing on different occupations and in a variety of contexts
CONCLUSION: Evidence from 9 studies showed that sensory processing significantly affected the participation in daily life of children with ASD. Included studies demonstrated medium and low levels of evidence. Additional research is needed using more robust scientific methods
IMPACT STATEMENT: This systematic review contributes to the science of occupational therapy by evaluating and integrating evidence about sensory processing contributions to participation in children with ASD
References
Ben-Sasson, A., Hen, L., Fluss, R., Cermak, S. A., Engel-Yeger, B., & Gal, E. (2009). A meta-analysis of sensory modulation symptoms in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39, 1–11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-008-0593-3
Dunn, W. (2014). Sensory Profile 2 user’s manual. Bloomington, MN: Psychological Corp.