A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of the Effectiveness of Occupational Therapy for Children With Sensory Modulation Disorder

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A pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the effectiveness of occupational therapy using a sensory integration approach (OT-SI) was conducted with children who had sensory modulation disorders (SMDs). This study evaluated the effectiveness of three treatment groups. In addition, sample size estimates for a large scale, multisite RCT were calculated.


Twenty-four children with SMD were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions; OT-SI, Activity Protocol, and No Treatment. Pretest and posttest measures of behavior, sensory and adaptive functioning, and physiology were administered.


The OT-SI group, compared to the other two groups, made significant gains on goal attainment scaling and on the Attention subtest and the Cognitive/Social composite of the Leiter International Performance Scale–Revised. Compared to the control groups, OT-SI improvement trends on the Short Sensory Profile, Child Behavior Checklist, and electrodermal reactivity were in the hypothesized direction.


Findings suggest that OT-SI may be effective in ameliorating difficulties of children with SMD.

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