OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this pilot study was to prepare for a randomized controlled study of the effectiveness of occupational therapy using a sensory integration approach (OT-SI) with children who have sensory processing disorders (SPD).

METHOD. A one-group pretest, posttest design with 30 children was completed with a subset of children with SPD, those with sensory modulation disorder.

RESULTS. Lessons learned relate to (a) identifying a homogeneous sample with quantifiable inclusion criteria, (b) developing an intervention manual for study replication and a fidelity to treatment measure, (c) determining which outcomes are sensitive to change and relate to parents’ priorities, and (d) clarifying rigorous methodologies (e.g., blinded examiners, randomization, power).

CONCLUSION. A comprehensive program of research is needed, including multiple pilot studies to develop enough knowledge that high-quality effectiveness research in occupational therapy can be completed. Previous effectiveness studies in OT-SI have been single projects not based on a unified long-term program of research.

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