This study evaluated a manualized intervention for sensory difficulties for children with autism, ages 4-8 years, using a randomized trial design. Diagnosis of autism was confirmed using gold standard measures. Results show that the children in the treatment group (n = 17) who received 30 sessions of the occupational therapy intervention scored significantly higher (p = 0.003, d = 1.2) on Goal Attainment Scales (primary outcome), and also scored significantly better on measures of caregiver assistance in self-care (p = 0.008 d = 0.9) and socialization (p = 0.04, d = 0.7) than the Usual Care control group (n = 15). 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. Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for practice and future research.
Schaaf, Roseann C; Benevides, Teal W.; Mailloux, Zoe; Faller, Patricia; Hunt, Joanne; van Hooydonk, Elke; Freeman, Regina; Leiby, Benjamin E; Sendecki, Jocelyn; and Kelly, Donna, "An Intervention for Sensory Difficulties in Children with Autism: A Randomized Trial." (2013). Department of Occupational Therapy Faculty Papers. Paper 15.