Abstract

OBJECTIVE. This study examined the effects of Ayres’s sensory integration intervention on the behavior and task engagement of young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Clinical observations and caregiver reports of behavior and engagement also were explored to help guide future investigations.

METHOD. This single-subject study used an ABAB design to compare the immediate effect of Ayres’s sensory integration and a play scenario on the undesired behavior and task engagement of 4 children with ASD.

RESULTS. No clear patterns of change in undesired behavior or task management emerged through objective measurement. Subjective data suggested that each child exhibited positive changes during and after intervention.

CONCLUSION. When effects are measured immediately after intervention, short-term Ayres’s sensory integration does not have a substantially different effect than a play scenario on undesired behavior or engagement of young children with ASD. However, subjective data suggest that Ayres’s sensory integration may produce an effect that is evident during treatment sessions and in home environments.

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