Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Publications

Highlighted Publications

Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T., Mailloux, Z., Faller, P., Hunt, J., van Hooydonk, E., ... & Kelly, D. (2014). An intervention for sensory difficulties in children with autism: A randomized trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders44(7), 1493-1506.

This randomized trial compared a manualized occupational therapy intervention that follows Ayres sensory integration principals to usual care for treating sensory difficulties in children with autism, ages 4-8. Children in the treatment group had significantly higher gains than the usual care group in meeting functional goals (as measured by the Goal Attainment Scale), needing less caregiver assistance in self-care and social activities, and improving skills in these areas. Findings support the use of the intervention for children with autism.  


Schaaf, R. C., & Lane, A. E. (2015). Toward a best-practice protocol for assessment of sensory features in ASD. Journal of autism and developmental disorders45(5), 1380-1395.

Given that sensory difficulties are now included in the DSM-V as a commonly occurring manifestation of autism spectrum disorders, guidelines for comprehensive assessment of sensory features are needed. This paper provides information on sensory development, the relationship of sensory features to core symptoms of autism, and gives recommendations for clinical assessment of sensory features in light of current assessment practices. 


Faller, P., Hunt, J., van Hooydonk, E., Mailloux, Z., & Schaaf, R. (2016). Application of Data-Driven Decision Making using Ayres Sensory Integration® with a child with autism. American Journal of Occupational Therapy70(1), 7001220020p1-7001220020p9.

This study compared autonomic nervous system activity during sensory stimulation in 59 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 30 typically developing children. Results of multivariate comparisons suggest participants with ASD have different patterns of parasympathetic responses from sensory stimulation. Significant differences in parasympathetic responses, particularly respiratory sinus arrhythmia across sensory stimuli (p=0.02) and from domain to domain (p=0.01) were found, but there were no significant differences in pre-ejaculation period sympathetic activity between groups. Implications for ASD research are discussed. 


Schaaf, R. C., Benevides, T. W., Leiby, B. E., & Sendecki, J. A. (2015). Autonomic dysregulation during sensory stimulation in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders45(2), 461-472.

This study compared autonomic nervous system activity during sensory stimulation in 59 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 30 typically developing children. Results of multivariate comparisons suggest participants with ASD have different patterns of parasympathetic responses from sensory stimulation. Significant differences in parasympathetic responses, particularly respiratory sinus arrhythmia across sensory stimuli (p=0.02) and from domain to domain (p=0.01) were found, but there were no significant differences in pre-ejaculation period sympathetic activity between groups. Implications for ASD research are discussed. 


Recent Publications

Sleep in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Manualization of occupational therapy using ayres sensory integration® for autism

Application of Data-Driven Decision Making Using Ayres Sensory Integration(®) With a Child With Autism

Application of data-driven decision making using ayres sensory integration® with a child with Autism

Toward a Best-Practice Protocol for Assessment of Sensory Features in ASD

Measuring change in somatosensation across the lifespan

Creating Evidence for Practice Using Data-Driven Decision Making

Autonomic dysregulation during sensory stimulation in children with autism spectrum disorder

Creating evidence for practice using data-driven decision making

Ayres sensory integration®intervention

Sensory integration and praxis patterns in children with autism

Linking Sensory Factors to Participation: Establishing Intervention Goals with Parents for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

State of the science: A roadmap for research in sensory integration

Measuring change in somatosensation across the lifespan

Sensory interventions for children with autism

Response from authors to comments on "An intervention for sensory difficulties in children with autism: A randomized trial"

State of measurement in occupational therapy using sensory integration

Interrater reliability and discriminative validity of the structural elements of the ayres sensory integration® fidelity measure©

An intervention for sensory difficulties in children with autism: A randomized trial

Occupational therapy based on ayres sensory integration in the treatment of retentive fecal incontinence in a 3-year-old boy