Clinical utility of three sensory modulation measures for the child with ASD in South Africa: A Practitioners’ Perspective

Gina Rencken, Kerry Evetts, Pragashnie Govender


Background: There is need for the assessment of sensory modulation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to be culturally, environmentally, economically and language sensitive to the South African population. It is assumed that the measures in current use are not appropriate, acceptable, practical or accessible for the South African child with ASD.

Aim: This study sought the practitioners' perspective on the clinical utility of three sensory modulation measures for children diagnosed with ASD in South Africa.

Methods: A quantitative survey method was used to collect data from a purposive sample of 31 SAISI Occupational Therapy members nationwide.

Results: Urban participants accounted for 83% of the sample, 80% were in private practice and 67% from English-speaking practices. All three measures demonstrated some level of clinical utility. The Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) was found to be more appropriate than the Sensory Profile (SP) (p<0.007), although the SP was more accessible than the SPM (p<0.002). Amongst non- English speakers the Sensory Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ) was more acceptable than the SPM (p<0.045).

Recommendations: The SPM should be used in an interview format, with recommended changes and translation into the caregivers’ home language, until a South African specific sensory screening measure, which can be readily reproducible in several local languages, is developed.

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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