Sensory Integrative Therapy and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Child playing with parachute Sensory integrative therapy is a type of therapy designed to help people cope with sensory difficulties.

Sensory integrative therapy is based on the idea that some people struggle to receive, process, and make sense of information provided by the senses.

For example, some people with autism are hyper-sensitive (over-sensitive) to some things such as loud noises but hypo-sensitive (under-sensitive) to other things such as pain.

In sensory integrative therapy the therapists assess a person's sensory difficulties and then develop a personalised treatment programme in which they use the most appropriate techniques and tools to overcome those difficulties.

A sensory integrative programme usually involves a combination of different elements such as wearing a weighted vest, being brushed or rubbed with various instruments, riding a scooter board, sitting on a bouncy ball, being squeezed between exercise pads and other similar activities.

Our Opinion

This intervention is highly dependent on the skills and experience of the therapist/s.

Not all children with autism have sensory processing difficulties and careful assessment is required before commencing any programme.

The research evidence which suggests that some aspects of behaviour may be helped by sensory integration-based intervention for some individuals is preliminary with insufficiently large and robust research to generalise the findings

Clear outcomes and objectives of sensory integration-based interventions should be defined at the start of therapy and reviewed on a regular basis.


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31 Oct 2017
Last Review
01 Jul 2014
Next Review
01 Jul 2017