Autism Mannerism

In a new study, Temple University has revealed that children suffering with autistic spectrum disorders who went through sensory integration therapy, showed very few autistic mannerisms when compared to children who received standard treatments.

There are different kinds of actions seen recurrently by such kind of mannerisms like hand movements or actions, making noises, jumping or having highly restricted interests. All these actions regularly obstruct attention and learning. It is portrayed through the abnormalities of social interactions and communication, and also by the limited interests and highly repetitive behavior.

Parents of autistic children are day by day turning to sensory integration treatments to help their children and fight and deal with the disorder, and they are experiencing positive results. Last year i.e. in 2007, 71 percent parents who practiced alternative to traditional treatment used sensory integration methods, out of which 91 percent found these techniques useful.

Authors Beth Pfeiffer, Ph.D., OTR/L, BCP, and Moya Kinnealey, Ph.D., OTR/L, from the Occupational Therapy Department in Temple University’s College of Health Professions said that the children allocated to the sensory integration intervention group also attained additional goals specified by their parents and therapists. Improvement was seen in the children in areas of sensory processing/regulation, social-emotional and functional motor tasks.

Children in the age group of 6 to 12 years were diagnosed with autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS). The researchers held this study at a summer camp. Traditional motor therapy was trained to a group of 17 children and the rest of the other groups of 20 received sensory integration therapy. In the interlude of six weeks, every single child received 18 treatment sessions.

Study author Beth Pfeiffer, Ph.D., OTR/L, BCP said, “This pilot study provided a foundation for how we should design randomized control trials for sensory integration interventions with larger sample sizes”. To measure behavior, different types of series of scale were used by the researchers. The results were that the sensory integration group children showed good progress in precise areas at the end of the study, whereas PDD-NOS and Traditional motor therapy groups portrayed significant improvements.

The study was presented this month at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s 2008 conference.