Occupational therapists working with children with clefts observed that those children demonstrated subtle developmental delays, including learning, language, and behavioral problems that appeared related to sensory integrative dysfunction as identified by Ayres in children with learning disabilities. This study explored the possible existence of sensory integrative dysfunction in children with clefts when compared to normative data published by Ayres. The Southern California Sensory Integration Tests and the Southern California Postrotary Nystagmus Tests were administered to 70 four- to nineyear old children with clefts, who had been selected from four different hospital settings.
Comparisons of the mean subtest scores of the sample children and the norms showed that significant levels (p < .05) of difference existed. The subjects with clefts exhibited dysfunction related to vestibular and tactile processing and bilateral integration. No relationship was found between sensory integrative dysfunction and the child’s cleft type, sex, or hospital setting.