Objective. This single-subject study explored the effects of sensory integrative–based occupational therapy provided in an outpatient clinic on the functional behaviors of two young children with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) at home.
Method. The participants were two 3-year-old boys with PDD. Before the study, the participants had not received a consistent program of sensory integrative–based occupational therapy. Before the baseline phase, three target behaviors were identified for each child, using an adapted version of Cook’s revised Functional Behavior Assessment for Children with Sensory Integrative Dysfunction. These target behaviors were operationalized and used as repeated measures taken in the home during both the 2-week baseline and treatment phases. The treatment phase was 11 weeks for Participant 1 and 7 weeks for Participant 2.
Results. Both participants displayed significant improvements in the areas of social interaction, approach to new activities, response to holding or hugging, and response to movement. Decreases were noted in the frequency and duration of disruptive behaviors (e.g., high activity levels, aggressive behaviors), with an increase in functional behaviors, such as spontaneous speech, purposeful play, and attention to activities and conversation. Concurrent interventions that were not part of this study (e.g., initiation of speech therapy, preschool, vitamins) may have confounded these results.
Conclusions. These findings support the application of sensory integrative–based occupational therapy as a part of the services provided to some children with PDD. Further research is needed to replicate these findings and to isolate the effects of sensory integrative–based occupational therapy because both participants were receiving other interventions at the time of this study.