Sensory processing disorder in children ages birth-3 years born prematurely: a systematic review

Am J Occup Ther. 2015 Jan-Feb;69(1):6901220030. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.013755.


This systematic review of multidisciplinary literature synthesizes evidence of the prevalence and patterns of sensory processing disorder (SPD) in children ages birth-3 yr born preterm. Forty-five articles including physiological, behavioral, temperament, and SPD research met the inclusion criteria and provided 295 findings related to SPD-130 (44%) positive (evidence of SPD) and 165 (56%) negative (no evidence of SPD). The majority of findings related to sensory modulation disorder (SMD; 43% positive). The most prevalent subcategory of SMD was sensory overresponsivity (82% of findings positive). Evidence of sensory underresponsivity and sensory-seeking SMD, sensory discrimination disorder, and sensory-based motor disorder was limited. This study supports the education of neonatologists, pediatricians, and caregivers about the symptoms and potential consequences of SPD and helps justify the need for follow-up screening for SPD in children ages birth-3 yr born preterm. Research using measures based on sensory processing theory is needed.