Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sensory Processing Disorders and Social Play

The American Journal of Occupational Therapy has published research on children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and social participation. The social participation of twelve children with sensory processing disorder and 12 children without were compared. The results indicated that children with sensory processing disorder exhibit similar response patterns as children without SPD. A significant difference was noted on the enjoyment scale with the children with SPD enjoying the activities more than the typically developing peers. They particularly enjoyed skill based (formal activities such as sport lessons) and recreational based (informal play i.e. playground) activities. Children with SPD did not prefer highly structured games or games with rules.

The children without SPD had a larger social circle to interact with beyond the immediate family.

Although there are many limitations to this study (i.e. small sample size, how the children were diagnosed with SPD, etc.), the results indicate that the social participation of children with SPD may not be significantly influenced by SPD.

Reference: Joanna Cosbey, Susan S. Johnston and Louise Dunn. Sensory Processing Disorders and Social Participation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy May/June 2010 vol. 64 no. 3 462-473

2 comments:

Joanna said...

Thanks for drawing attention to this article. As the primary author, I would strongly encourage interested readers to read the full article as the conclusions presented here aren't entirely accurately portrayed. While it's true that the children with SPD had a larger social network, their social networks weren't typical of children of their age--they spent a lot of time with family and professionals, unlike their peers who spent more time with other kids. So although SPD may not significantly impact certain aspects of social participation, there are some differences that should be acknowledged and addressed.
Thanks again for highlighting this research and helping to get the word out to parents and therapists.

Your Therapy Source Inc said...

Thank you very much for your comments. I too strongly encourage readers to read the full article (which can be downloaded for free right now). In the summary on this blog, I do state that the children without SPD had a larger social circle beyond their immediate family. I agree that therapists and parents should address differences that may be present. Glad to see you found the blog.