Abstract

The treatment of self-injurious behavior in adults with mental retardation is a major challenge. A critical review of the literature compares sensory-based treatment studies by behavioral psychologists with sensory integrative treatment studies by occupational therapist. In general, therapists have used direct intervention in concentrated daily sessions. This report includes a single subject study that (a) demonstrates the clinical reasoning involved in the assessment and treatment planning process, (b) documents the efficacy of multiple short treatment sessions spread throughout the day, and (c) presents an alternative model of service provision in which direct care staff provide sensory and adaptive activities under the supervision of an occupational therapist. The use of sensory integration with adults with profound handicaps is presented as a valid application of a theory and treatment that was originally developed from work with higher functioning children with learning disabilities.

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