Sensory integration therapy in autism: Mechanisms and effectiveness
The intervention study aims to assess the mechanisms and effectiveness of sensory integration therapy (SIT) in kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Forty-five to 90% of children with ASD have difficulties processing and integration sensory information. A pilot study showed that children with ASD who were randomized to a 30-session SIT program made significant gains in functional skills, showed reduced sensory-related maladaptive behaviors, and improved their participation in daily activities compared to controls. This study now seeks to compare SIT to another commonly used intervention—a behavioral therapy called Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).
The three treatment arms of the study are ABA, SIT, and no therapy (“therapy as usual,” for all three treatment groups continue with any ongoing treatments). The outcome measures of the study assess participants’ functional skills, multisensory integration function, and severity of autism and sensory symptoms.
The timeline of this 24-week ongoing study includes three major time points: Time Point 1 at Week 1, Time Point 2 at approximately Week 12, and Time Point 3 at approximately Week 24. At each time point, participants come in for 12-15 hours of neuropsychological evaluations and a full day of EEG testing. Participants are randomized into treatment arms upon completion of Time Point 1 evaluations. If a participant is randomized into ABA or SIT, he/she is expected to complete 30 one-hour sessions of therapy within 12 weeks. When participants finish treatment (ABA, SIT, or no therapy) after 12 weeks, they return to the lab for evaluations at Time Point 2. Twelve weeks later, they return to the lab for a last time at Time Point 3 for their follow-up evaluations. Upon completion of the study, participants receive a summary of results detailing the testing completed in the study.
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To see if your child qualifies to participate, click HERE.