Assessments of sensory processing in infants: a systematic review

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2013 Apr;55(4):314-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2012.04434.x. Epub 2012 Nov 15.


Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate the psychometric properties and clinical use of assessments of sensory processing function, within the first 2 years of life, and to identify which assessment is the most appropriate and precise in measuring the construct of sensory processing.

Method: The literature was comprehensively searched, and assessments used to measure sensory processing in infancy were systematically selected and reviewed for clinical use, reliability, validity, and responsiveness.

Results: Thirty-four assessments were identified; three met the predefined inclusion criteria. All discriminative assessments, the Sensory Rating Scale, and Infant/Toddler Sensory Profile are parent-reported questionnaires and can be administered from birth up to 3 years of age. The Test of Sensory Function in Infants is a performance-based assessment and is suitable for infants aged 4 to 18 months. Studies evaluating the psychometric properties of these three assessments differed in the properties addressed and reported poor to adequate reliability.

Interpretation: Selecting the most appropriate and precise assessment to measure sensory processing function in infancy will depend on the specific components of sensory processing that need to be evaluated, infant age, and what other sources of information are available about the infant's development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Fathers
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mothers
  • Motor Skills Disorders / diagnosis
  • Motor Skills*
  • Neuropsychological Tests* / standards
  • Observer Variation
  • Parents*
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires