Clinical Bottom Line
“How could I apply this information?”
This study highlights the importance of choosing assessments based on International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health concepts to inform diagnosis and document functional skill performance in children who have a sensory processing disorder (SPD) or a physical disability (PD). Clinically, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disabilities Inventory (PEDI) could be used to document functional limitations, which may qualify a child for therapy services. The mean age of the children in this study was almost 4 years. A subanalysis of children younger than 3 years is needed to determine whether the PEDI can identify functional skill differences between young children with SPD and those with typical development (TD) to determine eligibility for early intervention services. However, the results from this study support the likelihood of similar results for this younger age group. The PEDI also quantified the additional burden of caregiver assistance that is required of families with children with SPD and those with PD. A meaningful outcome of intervention may be a reduction of caregiver assistance.
“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”
The children in this study were not assessed using a standard protocol or definition of SPD or PD. The therapist's impression of the child was the primary factor used to determine group assignment. The training and experiences of the individual therapists likely influenced their impression and could have affected reliability of group assignment. The inclusion of children with unspecified developmental delay in both SPD and the PD groups may have reduced PEDI scores of both groups. The result of this study must be interpreted with caution as this limitation may inflate group differences when comparing either the SPD or the PD group with the TD group.
Stacey C. Dusing, PT, PhD
Theresa A. Izzo, PT, DPT, PCS
Virginia Commonwealth University Health System