OBJECTIVE. This study tested the assumption of sensory integration theory that states that a relationship exists between brain function and the behavioral manifestations of sensory integrative dysfunction.

METHOD. Electroencephalographic measures were used to examine brain processing in 28 children with sensory processing disorders (SPD) and 25 children who were typically developing, ages 5–12 years.

RESULTS. Children with SPD demonstrated less sensory gating than children who were typically developing. A significant relationship between sensory gating and age was found in children who were typically developing but not in children with SPD. Brain activity correctly distinguished children with SPD from children who were typically developing with 86% accuracy.

CONCLUSION. These results present empirical evidence that children with SPD display unique brain processing mechanisms compared to children who are typically developing and provide external validity for the diagnosis of SPD.

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