Occupational Therapy Aids Kids With Autism, Sensory Issues

Improvements seen in completing tasks, caregiver assistance, and socialization

THURSDAY, Jan. 9, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Occupational therapy focused on sensory integration strategies helps children with autism spectrum disorder and sensory issues improve their ability to perform everyday tasks, according to a study published online Nov. 10 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Roseann C. Schaaf, Ph.D., O.T.R./L., from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomized children with autism (aged 4 to 8 years) to either a manualized intervention (30 sessions of the occupational therapy; 17 patients) or usual care (control group; 15 patients).

The researchers found that the children in the intervention group scored significantly higher (P = 0.003) on the primary outcome of Goal Attainment Scales. Additionally, the intervention group scored significantly better on measures of caregiver assistance in self-care (P = 0.008) and socialization (P = 0.04), compared to the control group.

"The study shows high rigor in its measurement of treatment fidelity and use of a manualized protocol, and provides support for the use of this intervention for children with autism," the authors write.

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