Practitioner Review: Effective management of functional difficulties associated with sensory symptoms in children and adolescents.

Author: Lane AE1
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup>School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.
Conference/Journal: J Child Psychol Psychiatry.
Date published: 2020 Mar 13
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/jcpp.13230. [Epub ahead of print] , Word Count: 321

BACKGROUND: Sensory symptoms are defined as atypical behavioral responses to daily sensory stimuli that impact on the performance of everyday routines. Sensory symptoms have been observed in young people with and without developmental concerns. There is uncertainty, however, regarding the best way to identify and manage sensory symptoms. The aim of this paper is  to provide a review of current best evidence regarding measurement of and interventions for sensory symptoms.

METHODS: A narrative review methodology is adopted to address the aims of this paper. First, sensory symptoms are defined, and then, an overview of the evidence for the relationship between sensory symptoms and childhood function is provided. Second, commonly used sensory assessment tools are summarized and evaluated. Finally, an overview and critique of the evidence for sensory and nonsensory-based interventions addressing sensory symptoms are given.

RESULTS: The terminology used to describe sensory symptoms varies by discipline, and several conceptual taxonomies including sensory subtypes have been proposed. There is ample evidence to support the association of sensory symptoms with childhood function including social engagement, repetitive behaviors, anxiety, and participation in self-care routines. Measurement of sensory symptoms is dominated by proxy-report instruments, and few single instruments assess the entire domain of sensory symptomatology. The evidence for interventions for sensory symptoms is emerging but still limited by low quantity and methodological concerns.

CONCLUSIONS: Effective management of sensory symptoms may mitigate the burden of neurodevelopmental disability and mental illness in young people. Identification of sensory symptoms should be conducted by a skilled practitioner utilizing multiple measurement methods. Intervention protocols for sensory symptoms should be informed by current best evidence which is strongest for Ayres Sensory Integration® , Qigong massage, the Alert Program® , and Social Stories. To make significant progress in this field, however, new intervention studies must address the question of 'what intervention works for whom?'.

© 2020 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

KEYWORDS: Sensory symptoms; children; developmental disability; intervention; measurement; sensory

PMID: 32166796 DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.13230