Evaluation of sensory processing function serves as a critical component of treatment planning and implementation of intervention in pediatric occupational therapy practice. We developed a Sensory Processing Scale for Monkeys (SPS–M), based on human tests, that measures behavioral responses to a series of tactile stimuli. This assessment has been used to assess sensory processing in adult rhesus monkeys exposed to prenatal alcohol, stress, or postnatal lead. Control monkeys from undisturbed pregnancies showed a habituation pattern, prenatally stressed monkeys showed sensitization, and prenatal alcohol–exposed monkeys showed relatively high responsiveness without habituation across trials. Lead-exposed monkeys showed sensitization compared to nonlead-exposed controls, and chelation reduced the sensitization in lead-exposed animals. Aversive responsiveness was associated with up-regulated striatal dopamine receptor binding measured with positron emission tomography.

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