The effects of sensory abnormalities and maladaptive behaviors in young children with disabilities on parent participation: A correlation study
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The World Health Organization (WHO) defines participation as central to health. Occupational therapy views participation as both the means and end to health (AOTA, 2013). Family members are interdependent and their abilities to participate affect one another (Sameroff & Fiese, 2000). Therapists assess each family member s ability to participate when they intervene in a child s life (AOTA, 2008). Children with various developmental delays demonstrate sensory abnormalities and maladaptive behaviors that cause parental stress (Baker, Blacher, Crnic & Edelbrock , 2002; Schaaf et al., 2011; Tomcheck & Dunn, 2007). Occupational therapy holds that maladaptive behaviors result from sensory processing abnormalities (Ayres, 1971; Dunn, 1997). Some literature supports these theories (Ashburner, Ziviana & Rodger, 2008; Lane, Baker & Angley, 2010). Other literature finds no relationship between sensory abnormalities and behavior (Hoehn, & Baumeister, 1994; Rogers and Ozonoff, 2005). This dissertation explored the effects of abnormal sensory processing and maladaptive behaviors of young children with disabilities on their parent s ability to participate. It further explored the relationship between abnormal sensory processing and maladaptive behavior. These relationships were explored through correlation and regression analyses with three tools: the Life Participation For Parents (LPP), The Infant Toddler Sensory Profile (ITSP), and the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5-5 (CBCL) on parent reports on 43 children. Correlations between LPP and ITSP constructs showed no significant relationships. Correlations between LPP and CBCL 1.5-5 constructs revealed weak inverse relationships between Anxious/Depressed, Sleep Problems, Aggressive Behaviors and parent participation. Correlations between ITSP and CBCL 1.5-5 constructs showed weak inverse relationships between Low Registration and Anxious/Depressed Behavior and moderate inverse relationships between Low Registration and Withdrawn, Attention Problems, and Aggressive Behavior. Sensation Seeking showed weak inverse relationships with Emotionally Reactive, and a moderate inverse relationship with Attention Problems. Sensory Sensitivity had weak inverse relationships with Sleep and Avoiding, and moderate inverse relationships with Emotionally Reactive, Anxious/Depressed, Somatic, and Aggressive Behavior. Sensation Avoiding showed moderate inverse relationships with Emotionally Reactive, Anxious/Depressed, Somatic and Withdrawn between LPP and CBCL 1.5-5 constructs. Predictive relationships between Low Registration and Sensory Sensitivity characteristics and Internalizing Behaviors only were found. Maladaptive behaviors were weakly related to lower parent participation however there was no predictive nature to these relationships in this sample of children. Relationships between behavior and sensory processing constructs are stronger and some predictive relationships were found. This supports theories that suggest that behavior is related to sensory processing experiences.