Abstract

Sensory integration theory has generated many studies over the past decade, and individuals who are evaluating the theory and its ramifications for treatment have started to draw conclusions based upon those studies. However, the theory underlying treatment has not been fully explored through research, nor have the bulk of the treatment effectiveness studies demonstrated the methodological and statistical power necessary to adequately accept or reject effectiveness. The purpose of this article is to examine how research on sensory integration therapy relates to the underlying theory of therapy, how it is guided by the theory, and how it can be used to evaluate and develop the theory. The perspective taken in this discussion is that of a professional who does not have the experience of practicing sensory integration treatment but who is informed through the published research in the area. It is hoped that the resultant simplicity and objectivity of the discussion will provide a useful analysis of the complex issues surrounding research in this area. Suggestions are given for improving the knowledge of “outsiders” about the theory and practice of sensory integration treatment through research.

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