Effects of multisensory environment on preschool children with autism

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Effects of multisensory environment on preschool children with autism


Author: Lai, Yuen Yi Cynthia
Title: Effects of multisensory environment on preschool children with autism
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2004
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Autistic children -- Behavior modification
Sensory stimulation
Developmentally disabled children -- Rehabilitation
Department: Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
Pages: iii, 95 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1772703
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/3863
Abstract: The concept of multisensory environment (MSE) has been introduced for more than three decades. In the Western countries, the use of MSE have gained widespread acceptance in the education of children with learning disabilities. In Hong Kong, the application of MSE on preschool setting has been on a rising trend. Positive effects of previous studies on MSE were reported. However, most of the studies provided limited scientific findings. Interventions using sensory stimuli were known to have positive effect on the processing of central nervous system, and MSE could be one of them. This study aimed at comparing the effects of two types of sensory-based intervention, namely MSE and a structured sensory program (SSP), on an on-task behavior (attention) of preschool children with autism. Twelve subjects with autism and sensory dysfunction, at preschool age, were recruited. A crossover design with pre-test and post-tests were conducted to measure the attention of the subjects prior to and after the intervention sessions. Three kinds of attention were evaluated in the study: duration of focused attention (DFA), duration of causal attention (DCA), and duration of inattention (DI). Univariate analysis of variance was used to analyze the data. It was found that there was no statistical significant difference between the effects of MSE and SSP on DFA, DCA and DI. Also, no significant carryover effect and order effect were found. Nevertheless, significant period effect of the interventions on DFA and DI was obtained. And there was a significant difference between the immediate and short-term effect of interventions on DCA. These findings provide valuable clinical implications on the application of sensory interventions for the management of children with autism. Regular and long-term sensory-based interventions (MSE and SSP) are recommended. Limitations of this study and recommendation on further research directions are discussed.

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