Sunday, December 4, 2011

Screening SPD Modulation

There is now a way to actually measure sensory over-sensitivity (sensory over-responsivity) by measuring sweat on the palm (with electro-dermal equipment) and increased heartbeat. I'm hoping that this technique becomes standard practice and finally allows us to get a diagnosis for affected children - which it may once the next DSM is published.

In the meantime, I continue to rely on the Sensory Profile as a screening tool. I make heavy use of its modulation scoring which identifies over- and under-sensitivity, seeking (craving), and aversion/avoidance of sensory input. The test is published by Pearson.  It is available for home or school and for several age groups. Scoring is standardized. A weakness is that being a questionnaire, it is only as reliable as the caregiver/teacher who fills it out. Nonetheless, I see good results. Sometimes I give copies to multiple caregivers or teachers if I am concerned about reliability.

A second tool is the SPM - Sensory Processing Measure, by WPS Publishing which solves that problem. The SPM can be passed out to both parent and teacher, plus the bus driver, the cafeteria lady and other important people in the child's life. The results are added together then scored. The drawback for SPM is that the modulation scores are not as rich as the Sensory Profile's.

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