Measurement of Sensory System Effectiveness and Maturational Changes in Postural Control in Young Children

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was threefold: 1) to determine the feasibility of the use of computerized sensory organization testing (SOT) with children three to seven and a half years of age, 2) examine the stability of scores obtained from this test, and 3) to determine if scores obtained delineate the maturational changes in postural control as previously reported. Twenty-three children three to seven and a half years of age, and 11 adults 21 to 31 years of age with no history of developmental, orthopedic, or neurological deficit participated in two trials of each SOT condition. Stability and strategy scores were found to be stable between trials (a ≥ 0.58). Results concurred with previous reports: 1) children were less stable and used different movement strategies than adults (p ≤ 0.0001 and p ≤ 0.04, respectively); 2) evidence of a transitional period between 3 and 7 years of age was noted; and 3) although somatosensory effectiveness in postural control is adult-like between 4 and 6 years of age, measures of visual and vestibular effectiveness in postural control are not adult-like by seven and a half years of age. The authors conclude that SOT provides stable, useful measures of sensory system effectiveness in, and maturational changes of postural control in young children.

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