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Differences in Function Among Children With Sensory Processing Disorders, Physical Disabilities, and Typical Development

Armstrong, Dayle C. PT, MS, DPT; Redman-Bentley, Donna PT, PhD; Wardell, Mary PT, DPT, MS, PCS

doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3182980cd4
Research Article

Purpose: To examine the capability and performance of children with sensory processing disorders (SPD) compared with children who are developing typically and those with physical disabilities (PD).

Methods: Participants included parents/caregivers of 81 children ranging in age from 1 to 7.3 years; 57% were boys. The child's therapist interviewed the parents using the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI) to measure functional performance.

Results: Children with SPD demonstrated significant differences from children in the other groups in functional skills and caregiver assistance within 3 domains (self-care, mobility, social function).

Conclusions: The PEDI can be used to (1) identify functional delays in young children with SPD, which can affect participation in age-appropriate self-care, mobility, and social skills, and (2) determine appropriate referrals for early intervention.

Findings from this study show the PEDI can be used to identify functional delays in young children with SPD and identify children needing early intervention services.

Department of Physical Therapy Education (Dr Armstrong) and College of Allied Health Professions (Dr Redman-Bentley), Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California; Miller Children's Hospital Long Beach (Dr Wardell), Long Beach, California.

Correspondence: Dayle C. Armstrong, PT, MS, DPT, Department of Physical Therapy Education, Western University of Health Sciences, 309 E Second St, Pomona, CA 91766 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and the Section on Pediatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association.