Research Article  |   March 2018
Sensory-Based Approaches in Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Influences on Occupational Therapists’ Recommendations and Perceived Benefits
Author Affiliations
  • Sandra Thompson-Hodgetts, PhD, OT, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; sandra.hodgetts@ualberta.ca
  • Joyce Magill-Evans, PhD, OT, is Professor Emerita, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Education of OTs and OTAs / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 2018
Sensory-Based Approaches in Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Influences on Occupational Therapists’ Recommendations and Perceived Benefits
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2018, Vol. 72, 7203205020p1-7203205020p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.024729
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March 2018, Vol. 72, 7203205020p1-7203205020p8. doi:10.5014/ajot.2018.024729
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We investigated factors that influenced occupational therapists’ beliefs about and use of sensory-based approaches for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

METHOD. Occupational therapists working with children with ASD (N = 211 from 16 countries) completed an online survey addressing their work experience, training, use of sensory-based approaches, and beliefs and perceptions about the effects of the approaches. Linear regression was used to determine predictors of use of and beliefs about sensory-based approaches.

RESULTS. Most respondents (98%) used sensory-based approaches for children with ASD and would recommend the approaches for 57% of the children they treated. Having a mentor who promoted sensory-based approaches and practicing outside North America and Australia predicted greater use and perceived effectiveness of these approaches. Less than 5 yr of occupational therapy experience predicted less use of the approaches.

CONCLUSION. Respondents selectively used sensory-based approaches for children with ASD and were influenced by country of residence, clinical experience, and mentorship.