Sensory-Based Approaches in Intervention for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Influences on Occupational Therapists' Recommendations and Perceived Benefits

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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.

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