by Margarita Lopez, MSOT OTR/L
The effectiveness of a group sensory processing-based proprioceptive exercise program on the physically aggressive behaviors of three 9-year-old participants was investigated. The participants were boys in a special education classroom for children with behavioral disabilities and were identified as having sensory processing deficits.
The study consisted of a baseline phase and an intervention phase. Observation data collected by the author consisted of the number of incidents, number of aggressive acts, and the duration of physically aggressive behaviors in the classroom. The teacher provided additional observation data during the intervention phase. Qualitative data on the perceptions of the teacher and participants on the program’s effectiveness were also collected.
One participant displayed a decrease in all three measures of physical aggression. A second participant displayed a decrease in two measures of physical aggression, and an increase in one measure. A third participant displayed a decrease in one measure of physical aggression and an increase in two measures. Results were related to sensory assessment findings. Qualitative data revealed improvements in all participants’ school function and in the class as a whole.
Evidence of benefits of the group proprioceptive program was found. The link between emotional and behavioral disabilities and sensory processing-related deficits was strengthened.