• Diyana Georgieva Trakia University, Faculty of Education, Stara Zagora



sensory-integration therapy, treatment, children with multiple disabilities, aggressive behavior


In recent years, sensory-integration therapy has emerged as one of the most popular treatments for aggressive behavior in children with different disorders. This article is devoted to an experimental study aimed at determining the effects of sensory-integration therapy on the aggressive behavior of children with multiple disabilities. Eighteen children participated in the study. The registration of the children's behavioral responses for 24 consecutive school days allowed the collection of evidence in support of the thesis in the study. The individual child’s frequency of aggressive behaviors in four domains was recording on 12 days while undergoing sensory-integrative therapy and 12 days without a treatment with sensory-integrative techniques. The following methods were used in the analysis of the results: Paired samples t-tests to test the four null hypotheses, a Shaprio-Wilk test for the assumption of normality, Cohen's d to determine the effect size attributable to the therapy, and descriptive statistics for the dependent variables. The statistical results indicated a high level of significance for the three variables: aggression towards property, physical aggression, and aggression toward self. The obtained average values for the three modules are evidence for the positive effects of the sensory-based therapy in children with emotional and behavioral problems. The fourth variable, verbal aggression did not show a statistically significant difference between the mean values before and after the sensory-based intervention.


Atchison, K., Bartlebaugh, K., Freeman, B. J., Benavides, M., George, K. & Guhrman, H. (1997). Best practices for designing and delivering effective programs for individuals with autistic spectrum disorders: Recommendations of the collaborative working group on autistic spectrum disorders, Sacramento, US: Resources in Special Education (RiSE).

Ayres, A. J. (1972). Sensory integration and learning disorders, Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

Ayres, A. J. (1979). Sensory integration and the child, Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.

Arendt, R.E., MacLean, W.E. & Baumeister, A.A. (1988). Critique of sensory integration therapy and its application in mental retardation, American Journal of Mental Retardation, 92, 401-411.

Atkin, C., Smith, S., Roberto, A., Fediuk, T., Wagner, T. (2002). Correlates of verbally aggressive communication in adolescents, Journal of Applied Communication Research, 30, 251-268.

Baranek, G. T. (2002). Efficacy of Sensory and Motor Interventions for children withAutism, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 32, 397-422.

Barchia, K. & Bussey, K. (2011). Predictors of student defenders of peer aggression victims: empathy and social cognitive factors, International Journal of Behavioral Development 35(4) 289-297.

Bright, T., Bittick, K. & Fleeman, B. (1981). Reduction of self-injurious behavior using sensory-integrative techniques, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 35, 167-172.

Brosnan, J. & Healy, O. (2011). A review of behavioural interventions for the treatment of aggression in individuals with developmental disabilities, Research in developmental Disabilities, 32, 437- 446.

Cox, A. L., Gast, D. L., Luscre, D. & Ayres, K. M. (2009). The effects of weighted wests on appropriate in-seat behaviors of elementary-age students with autism and severe to profound intellectual disabilities, Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, 24, 17-26.

Dawson, G. & Watling, R. (2000). Interventions to facilitate auditory, visual, and motor integration in autism: A review of the evidence, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 415- 421.

Eyre, H. & Baune, B. T. (2012). Neuroimmunological effects of physical exercise in depression, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 26 (2), 251-266.

Doughty, S. & Doughty, A. (2008). Evaluation of body-pressure intervention for self-injury in autism, The Behavioral Development Bulletin, 14, 23-29.

Farahiyah W, Liu, K., Bissett, M., Penkala, S. (2015). Sensory based intervention for children with behavioral problems. A systematic review, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 3565-3579.

Faramarzi, S., Arjmandi, A. & Abedi, A. (2016). Effect of sensory integration training on executive functions of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 11 (1), 1-5.

Farmer, C. & Aman, M. (2009). Development of the children’s scale of hostility and aggression: Reactive/Proactive (C-SHARP), Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30, 1155-1167.

Fertel-Daly, D., Bedell, G. & Hinojosa, J. (2001). Effects of a weighted vest on attention to task and self-stimulatory behaviors in preschoolers with pervasive developmental disorders, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55, 629-640.

Gall, M., Gall, J. & Borg, W. (2007). Educational research: An introduction (8th ed.), New York, NY: Allyn & Bacon.

Hoehn, T. P. & Baumeister, A. A. (1994). A critique of the application of sensory integration therapy to children with learning disabilities, Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 338-350.

Johnson, W. L. & Baumeister, A. (1978). Self-injurious behavior: A review and analysis of methodological details of published studies, Behavior Modification, 2, 465-485.

Lang, R., O’Reilly, M., Healy, O., Rispoli, M., Lydon, H., Streusand, W., Davis, T., Kang, S., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G, Didden, R. & Giesbers, S. (2012). Sensory integration therapy for autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6, 1004-1018.

Larrington, G. G. (1987). A sensory integration based program with a severely retarded/autistic teenager: An occupational therapy case report. In Z. Mailloux (Ed.), Sensory integration approaches (pp. 101-117), New York: Hawthorn Press.

Lautenschlager, N. T., Cox, K. & Cyarto, E. V. (2012). The influence of exercise on brain aging and dementia, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Basis of Disease, 1822 (3), 474-481.

Leong, H. M. & Carter, M. (2008). Research on the efficacy of sensory integration therapy: Past, present and future, Australasian Journal of Special Education, 32, 83-99.

Losinski, M., Cook, K., Hirsch, S. & Sanders, S. (2017). The effects of deep pressure therapies and antecedent exercise on stereotypical behaviors of students with autism spectrum disorders, Behavioral Disorders, 42 (4), 196-208.

Mason, S. A. & Iwata, B. A. (1990). Artifactual effects of sensory-integrative therapy on self-injurious behavior, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 23, 361-370.

May-Benson, T. A. & Koomar, J. A. (2010). Systematic review of the research evidence examining the effectiveness of interventions using a sensory integrative approach for children, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 403-414.

Schaffer, R. (1984). Sensory integration therapy with learning disabled children: A critical review, Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51, 73-77.

Stagnitti, K., Raison, P., Ryan, P. (1999). Sensory defensiveness syndrome: A paediatric perspective and case study, Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 46, 175-187.

Stevens, J. P. (2009). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences (5th ed.), Mahwah, NJ: Routledge Academic.

Tsvetkova-Arsova, M. (2015). Pedagogy of children and students with multiple disabilities, Publishing house, Phenomenon. S.

Umeda, C. & Deitz, J. (2011). Effects of therapy cushions on classroom behaviors of children with autism spectrum disorder, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, 152-159.

Vargas, S. & Camilli, G. (1999). A meta-analysis of research on sensory integration treatment, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53, 189-198.

Wells, M. & Smith, D. W. (1983). Reduction of self-injurious behavior of mentally retarded persons using sensory integrative techniques, American Journal of Mental Deficiency, 87, 664-666.

Wilbarger, P. & Wilbarger, J. (1991). Sensory defensiveness in children aged 2–12: An intervention guide for parents and caregivers, Denver, CO: Avanti Educational Programs.




How to Cite