The Effects and Benefits of Sensory Integration Therapy on a Student with Autism

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Children with autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) often have difficulty regulating sensory input from the environment. These sensory related problems include increased sensitivity to certain sounds, smells, tastes and touch.

Many in the field of occupational therapy believe that these sensory issues are related to inappropriate behaviors, and they use the term sensory dysfunction to describe the behaviors that come from one's inability to process and regulate environmental stimuli. As the prevalence of autism continues to rise, it is important for teachers, staff, and parents to utilize techniques which improve the quality of students' daily functioning. The purpose of this research was to examine the effects of sensory diet interventions on a child with autism to determine whether the intervention program was successful in decreasing a target behavior of aggressive outbursts using a modified alternating treatment (ABAC) design. Results showed a decrease in aggressive outbursts after the first series of techniques were implemented, but it is not clear whether the decrease was a result of the intervention. Further, results show the second series of techniques did not have a positive impact on the behavior, yet extraneous variables may have impacted the data. Implications for future research and practice are discussed


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