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Sensory integration training

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for people who have a child with autism. It tells you about sensory integration training, a treatment used for autism. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Does it work?

We don't know. There hasn't been enough research to say whether sensory integration training works.

What is it?

Sensory integration training aims to help children whose hearing, sight, or sense of touch is over-sensitive.

Children with autism are often over-sensitive to sounds, lights, and touch. In sensory integration training, therapists assess your child's responses to these triggers. They then design a programme to help your child deal with their problems.

Treatment may include listening to music, being wrapped in blankets, or watching coloured lights.

How can it help?

We don't know if it can help. There hasn't been enough research to say.

How does it work?

Some doctors think that children with autism have nerves that trigger too easily, sending too many messages to their brain. The brain becomes overwhelmed with all the different messages. Sensory integration training aims to help children deal with the many messages.

Can it be harmful?

We don't know. There hasn't been enough research to say.

How good is the research on sensory integration training?

We didn't find any good-quality research (randomised controlled trials) that looked at sensory integration training for children with autism.

Glossary

randomised controlled trials

Randomised controlled trials are medical studies designed to test whether a treatment works. Patients are split into groups. One group is given the treatment being tested (for example, an antidepressant drug) while another group (called the comparison or control group) is given an alternative treatment. This could be a different type of drug or a dummy treatment (a placebo). Researchers then compare the effects of the different treatments.

For more terms related to Autism

Citations

For references related to Autism click here.
Last Updated: August 29, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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