Abstract

This study is the first to systematically examine estimated rates of sensory processing disorders using survey data. Parents of incoming kindergartners from one suburban U.S. public school district were surveyed using the Short Sensory Profile, a parent-report screening tool that evaluates parents’ perceptions of functional correlates of sensory processing disorders (McIntosh, Miller, Shyu, & Dunn, 1999a). A total of 703 completed surveys were returned, which represents 39% of the kindergarten enrollment (n = 1,796) in the district for the 1999–2000 school year. Of the 703 children represented by the surveys, 96 children (13.7% of 703) met criteria for sensory processing disorders based upon parental perceptions. A more conservative prevalence estimate of children having sensory processing disorders based on parental perceptions was calculated by assuming that all non-respondents failed to meet screening criteria. This cautious estimate suggests that based on parents’ perceptions, 5.3% (96 of 1796) of the kindergarten enrollment met screening criteria for sensory processing disorders. These percentages are consistent with hypothesized estimates published in the literature. Findings suggest a need for rigorous epidemiological studies of sensory processing disorders.

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