Specific Sensory Techniques and Sensory Environmental Modifications for Children and Youth With Sensory Integration Difficulties: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

This systematic review examined the effectiveness of specific sensory techniques and sensory environmental modifications to improve participation of children with sensory integration (SI) difficulties. Abstracts of 11,436 articles published between January 2007 and May 2015 were examined. Studies were included if designs reflected high levels of evidence, participants demonstrated SI difficulties, and outcome measures addressed function or participation. Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Seven studies evaluated effects of specific sensory techniques for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Qigong massage, weighted vests, slow swinging, and incorporation of multisensory activities into preschool routines. One study of sensory environmental modifications examined adaptations to a dental clinic for children with ASD. Strong evidence supported Qigong massage, moderate evidence supported sensory modifications to the dental care environment, and limited evidence supported weighted vests. The evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions regarding slow linear swinging and incorporation of multisensory activities into preschool settings.

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