Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Sensory integration therapy versus usual care for sensory processing difficulties in autism spectrum disorder in children: study protocol for a pragmatic randomised controlled trial.

Randell, Elizabeth ORCID:, McNamara, Rachel ORCID:, Delport, Susan ORCID:, Busse, Monica ORCID:, Hastings, Richard, Gillespie, David ORCID:, Williams-Thomas, Rhys, Brookes-Howell, Lucy ORCID:, Romeo, Renee, Boadu, Janet, Ahuja, Alka S, McKigney, Anne Marie, Knapp, Martin, Smith, Kathryn, Thornton, Jacqui and Warren, Gemma 2019. Sensory integration therapy versus usual care for sensory processing difficulties in autism spectrum disorder in children: study protocol for a pragmatic randomised controlled trial. Trials 20 , 113. 10.1186/s13063-019-3205-y

[thumbnail of s13063-019-3205-y.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (942kB) | Preview


Background Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a common lifelong condition affecting 1 in 100 people. ASD affects how a person relates to others and the world around them. Difficulty responding to sensory information (noise, touch, movement, taste, sight) is common, and might include feeling overwhelmed or distressed by loud or constant low-level noise (e.g. in the classroom). Affected children may also show little or no response to these sensory cues. These ‘sensory processing difficulties’ are associated with behaviour and socialisation problems, and affect education, relationships, and participation in daily life. Sensory integration therapy (SIT) is a face-to-face therapy or treatment provided by trained occupational therapists who use play-based sensory-motor activities and the just-right challenge to influence the way the child responds to sensation, reducing distress, and improving motor skills, adaptive responses, concentration, and interaction with others. With limited research into SIT, this protocol describes in detail how the intervention will be defined and evaluated. Methods This is a two-arm pragmatic individually 1:1 randomised controlled trial with an internal pilot of SIT versus usual care for primary school aged children (aged 4 to 11 years) with ASD and sensory processing difficulties; 216 children will be recruited from multiple sources. Therapy will be delivered in clinics meeting full fidelity criteria for manualised SIT over 26 weeks (face-to-face sessions: two per week for 10 weeks, two per month for 2 months; telephone call: one per month for 2 months). Follow-up assessments will be completed at 6 and 12 months post-randomisation. Prior to recruitment, therapists will be invited to participate in focus groups/interviews to explore what is delivered as usual care in trial regions; carers will be invited to complete an online survey to map out their experience of services. Following recruitment, carers will be given diaries to record their contact with services. Following intervention, carer and therapist interviews will be completed. Discussion Results of this trial will provide high-quality evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of SIT aimed at improving behavioural, functional, social, educational, and well-being outcomes for children and well-being outcomes for carers and families.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1745-6215
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 January 2019
Date of Acceptance: 17 January 2019
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2024 08:09

Citation Data

Cited 5 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics