Sensory therapy contraindicated for autism

December, 2012

A review has concluded that there is no evidence that sensory integration therapy helps autistic children.

A review of 25 major studies investigating the value of sensory integration therapy (SIT) for autistic children has concluded that this most popular of therapies has no scientific support.

Only three of the 25 studies found benefits from SIT, and these three all had serious methodological flaws. Eight of the studies found mixed results, while 14 studies reported no benefits. Many of the reviewed studies had serious methodological flaws.

It has been suggested that SIT may even be harmful, in that it may lead to an increase in undesirable behavior. Regardless, by taking up time that could otherwise be spent on effective therapies, the use of SIT is not recommended.

The only scientifically valid treatment and intervention for individuals on the autism spectrum is said to be applied behavior analysis, in which, unfortunately, few are trained. With applied behavior analysis, the therapist teaches children age-appropriate skills and offers systematic, repetitious positive reinforcement for desired behaviors.

Reference: 

[3183] Lang, R., O’Reilly M., Healy O., Rispoli M., Lydon H., Streusand W., et al. (2012).  Sensory integration therapy for autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 6(3), 1004 - 1018.

Recent posts at Mynd

global prevalence of multiple sclerosis

Cognitive decline is common in those with multiple sclerosis, but not everyone is so afflicted. What governs whether an individual will suffer...

A study involving 124 teenagers has found that those who were most accurate at tapping along with a metronome also showed the most consistent...

stock image

A large study, involving 3,690 older adults, has found that drugs with strong anticholinergic effects cause memory and cognitive impairment when...

St Anselm graduation

A very large genetic study has revealed that genetic differences have little effect on educational achievement. The study involved more than 125,...

Bright light therapy lamp

A small study involving 18 individuals with at least one mild traumatic brain injury with related sleep disturbance has shown that six weeks of...

Premature infant with ventilator

More than 10% of all babies are born preterm every year, and prematurity is a well-established risk factor for cognitive impairment at some level...

CPAP apparatus on mannequin

A new study adds to growing evidence of a link between sleep problems and Alzheimer’s. The interesting thing is that this association...

A false bus stop outside a nursing home, for the benefit of dementia patients

Family caregivers of dementia sufferers who are reluctant to use adult day care services might like to note the findings of a telephone survey....

Last year, a cancer drug, Bexarotene, was touted as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. However, four independent studies have...

Cinnamon sticks

I’ve been happily generous with cinnamon on my breakfast ever since the first hints came out that cinnamon might help protect against...

autistic toddler stacking cans

A recent report from Autistica estimates that nearly a quarter (24%) of children with autism are non-verbal or minimally verbal — problems...

screenshot semantic space

A recent study reveals that when we focus on searching for something, regions across the brain are pulled into the search. The study sheds light...

meditating on a flame

Three classroom experiments have found that students who meditated before a psychology lecture scored better on a quiz that followed than...

image from study

We talk about memory for ‘events’, but how does the brain decide what an event is? How does it decide what is part of an...

dilated eye

Why do we find it so hard to stay on task for long? A recent study uses a new technique to show how the task control network and the default...

action replay box

We know sleep helps consolidate memories. Now a new study sheds light on how your sleeping brain decides what’s worth keeping. The study...