Introduction: Sensory processing generally refers to the handling of sensory information by neural systems, including the functions of receptor organs and the peripheral and central nervous systems. Sensory processing difficulties occur in a host of neuro developmental problems like Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among several others. These can also occur in children considered otherwise normal.
Aim: To assess prevalence and distribution of Sensory Processing Difficulties among children attending the Child Guidance Clinic with focus on ADHD (excluding ASD) in a tertiary care hospital in Kolkata.
Methodology: All new cases attending the Child Guidance Clinic during study period were included. Serious comorbid physical illness requiring admission, refusal to give consent and cases diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning disorder, Intellectual Disabilities and Psychiatric sequelae of serious physical illness were exclusion factors. All children who were referred to the Child Guidance Clinic were routinely administered the Child Symptom Inventory (CSI), followed by detailed evaluation. Cases were selected as per inclusion and exclusion criteria. Final diagnosis regarding psychopathology was made on the basis of DSM-5 criteria. Following this, another researcher (Occupational therapist) who was blind to the diagnosis screened the patient for Sensory Processing Difficulties using the validated tools Winnie Dunn Short Sensory Profile (SSP).
Results: Difference of mean SSP scores between two groups i.e. ADHD (mean score – 134.41) and others including ODD, CD, Mood disorders (mean score-153.10) was statistically significant.
Conclusion: Clinicians should be aware that children with externalizing behaviors like ADHD may also have underlying sensory processing difficulties which may be masked. Hence evaluation of sensory processing difficulties should form an integral part of the assessment process in such conditions.
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