Examining Sensory Overresponsiveness in Preschool Children With Retentive Fecal Incontinence

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Abstract

The development of bowel control is an important activity of daily living in early childhood, and challenges in this area can limit participation in key occupations. Retentive fecal incontinence (RFI) is a common disorder in children. Up to 50% of children do not respond adequately to initial medical intervention, and behaviors around toileting, some related to sensory overresponsivity (SOR), may be partly responsible. Therefore, this study investigated the relationship between RFI and SOR and also examined the discriminative validity of the Toileting Habit Profile Questionnaire (THPQ). Per parent report, children with RFI (n = 16) showed significantly more behaviors related to SOR compared with typically developing children (n = 27). In addition, results indicated that the THPQ effectively discriminates between children with RFI and typically developing children. Results are discussed regarding RFI and SOR, the impact of RFI on childhood occupational engagement, and the role of occupational therapy with this population.

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