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ADVANCE Outlook: OT

New Research for Sensory Processing Disorders

Published April 12, 2016 1:33 PM by Katherine Bortz

A new addition to the 2016 Annual AOTA Conference and Expo is the inclusion of scientific panels. In these sessions, research papers are presented on the multiple areas of expertise that OTs cover. Sarah Schoen, associate director of Research the STAR Institute, was one of many researchers who presented at this years conference.

Schoen studies sensory processing challenges in children and adolescents. The STAR Institute, which was created through a merger between the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation and the STAR Center, is dedicated to looking at the symptomology in children who dont necessarily qualify for other clinical disorders.

Listening programs have been a part of clinical practice for may years and unfortunately there hasnt been a lot of research as to its effectiveness, Schoen said concerning her inspiration for the study. We are very much an evidence-based program, so we felt that if we used the various interventions that we use as a part of our model of treatment, then we needed to study the effectiveness.

The pilot study focused on the use of a particular listening program (Integrated Listening Systems or iLs) without any other services. Seven children were included in the study and spent five hours a week using the program, one with a research assistant and four with parental guidance. She used a single-subject design as a research model as opposed to randomized controlled trials. The results reflected the effectiveness of iLs.

“People have a misconception that the only valid research is randomized controlled trials,” she said. “We are training therapists to use this single subject design to use in their clinical work. I’m hoping that others will see this methodology and say ‘I want to validate what they found using iLs.’ This will only strengthen the findings that we had.”

Schoen believes that the more information and evidence collected on the use of iLs, the better.

Even from the audiences reaction, there is some sense of relief when there is evidence in a tool that people are regularly using in their clinical work. Hopefully it will inspire more people to do similar types of studies.

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2 comments

Good catch! The information has been updated. Thanks for reading!

Katherine Bortz, , Editorial Assistant ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners April 13, 2016 9:24 AM

Thank you for the article on the research study Dr. Sarah Schoen conducted on the iLs system. I would like to clarify that Sarah A. Schoen, PhD, OTR/L is the Associate Director of Research at STAR Institute for Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). The

Director of STAR Institute for SPD is Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR/L.

Susanne Geiler, Education Program Manager April 12, 2016 8:35 PM
Greenwood Village CO

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