Abstract

This study investigated the validity of sensory systems as distinct measurable constructs as part of a larger project examining Ayres’s theory of sensory integration. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to test whether sensory questionnaire items represent distinct sensory system constructs. Data were obtained from clinical records of two age groups, 2- to 5-yr-olds (n = 231) and 6- to 10-yr-olds (n = 223). With each group, we tested several CFA models for goodness of fit with the data. The accepted model was identical for each group and indicated that tactile, vestibular–proprioceptive, visual, and auditory systems form distinct, valid factors that are not age dependent. In contrast, alternative models that grouped items according to sensory processing problems (e.g., over- or underresponsiveness within or across sensory systems) did not yield valid factors. Results indicate that distinct sensory system constructs can be measured validly using questionnaire data.

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