Meta-analysis of Research on Sensory Integration Therapy for Individuals with Developmental and Learning Disabilities

Han Ming Leong*, Mark Carter, Jennifer R. Stephenson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sensory integration therapy (SIT) is a widely used intervention for people with disabilities to address educationally related outcomes and has been subject to ongoing controversy. The outcomes from 30 comparison group studies on sensory integration therapy for people with, or at-risk of, a developmental or learning disability, disorder, or delay were reviewed and analyzed. Studies comparing SIT to no treatment yielded a statistically significant but small effect. However, when SIT was compared to alternative interventions, differences were non-significant. Numerous methodological flaws were identified, such as issues in clearly defining treatment and evaluating integrity, poor quality of research, and diversity of outcome measures. There was little evidence that SIT was an effective intervention for any diagnostic group, particularly when functional blinded outcome measures were examined. Minimum methodological requirements for any future research studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-206
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Sensory integration therapy
  • Outcome studies
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Meta-analysis
  • Evidence-based practice

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