Optimizing participation of children with autism spectrum disorder experiencing sensory challenges: Clinical reasoning framework

Abstract
Background. Remedial sensory interventions currently lack supportive evidence and can be challenging to implement for families and clinicians. It may be timely to shift the focus to optimizing participation of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) through accommodation and self-regulation of their sensory differences. Purpose. A framework to guide practitioners in selecting strategies is proposed based on clinical reasoning considerations, including (a) research evidence, (b) client- and family-centredness, (c) practice contexts, (d) occupation-centredness, and (e) risks. Key issues. Information-sharing with families and coaching constitute the basis for intervention. Specific strategies are identified where sensory aversions or seeking behaviours, challenges with modulation of arousal, or sensory-related behaviours interfere with participation. Self-regulatory strategies are advocated. The application of universal design principles to shared environments is also recommended. Implications. The implications of this framework for future research, education, and practice are discussed. The clinical utility of the framework now needs to be tested.
Citation
Ashburner, J.K., Rodger, S.A., Ziviani, J.M., & Hinder, E.A. (2014). Optimizing participation of children with autism spectrum disorder experiencing sensory challenges: Clinical reasoning framework. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81(1), 29-38. doi: 10.1177/0008417413520440

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