Graduation Date

5-2013

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, Ed.D., OTR/L

First Reader

Stacy Frauwirth, MS, OTR/L

Abstract

The goal of this quantitative, descriptive pilot study was to identify the frequency of sensory processing disorders (SPD) in preschool students who are preparing for the transition into kindergarten. The research also explored the relationship between preschool teachers' perspectives of challenging classroom behavior and parents' reports of sensory processing in the home. Researchers distributed the Sensory Processing Measure for Preschoolers (SPM-P) assessment to parents and a behavioral questionnaire to teachers in three northern California preschools. Thirty-two SPM-P assessments were distributed to parents and 15 (47%) were accurately completed and returned. Of this sample, 2 (13%) student scores on the SPM-P reflected SPD. The SPM-P assessments not returned by parents were categorized as non- SPD students. Based on this assumption, 6.2% of the children within the greater population of 32 demonstrated sensory processing disorder. Results of the behavioral questionnaire found that teachers identified 3 or more maladaptive classroom behaviors for students who met the criteria for SPD. The research suggests that there may be a relationship between maladaptive classroom behavior and a child’s ability to process sensory information. Thus, further education on sensory processing and environmental adaptations that encourage positive participation in school may benefit teachers, parents, and children.

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