A major pediatricians’ group says doctors should no longer diagnose children with sensory processing disorder and is questioning the value of so-called “sensory integration therapy.”
In a policy statement released Monday the American Academy of Pediatrics said that doctors should look for the presence of another developmental condition such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental coordination disorder or anxiety disorder when a child shows signs of sensory issues.
“Because there is no universally accepted framework for diagnosis, sensory processing disorder generally should not be diagnosed,” the pediatricians group said in the statement published in the journal Pediatrics. “At this time, pediatricians should not use sensory processing disorder as a diagnosis.”
The group is also warning that increasingly common sensory-based techniques employed by occupational therapists may not be the most beneficial for children with autism and other developmental and behavioral disorders.
The approach known as sensory integration therapy often relies on brushes, swings, balls and other specially-designed equipment to help kids become accustomed to various stimuli.
However, the pediatrics organization said that data on the effectiveness of the therapy is “limited and inconclusive.”
While the American Academy of Pediatrics did not go so far as to advise against the therapies, they said parents and doctors should carefully monitor the progress of children utilizing sensory integration therapy to assess whether its continued use is warranted.