Sensory Therapies For Autism: How Much Sense Do They Make?
If you've spent money and time for your autistic child to receive therapies targeting "sensory integration" or other sensory-related methods and wondered if they do anything, here is your answer: No. Or probably not. Or who knows?
In other words, the evidence base for these therapies is fragile or nonexistent, at least according to a systematic review just published in Pediatrics, covering the findings of 24 studies. The review, by Vanderbilt researcher Amy S. Wietlauf and colleagues, focused on massage, sensory integration approaches, environmental enrichment, and auditory enrichment, tossing in the available few studies of music therapy and weighted blankets for good measure. That list likely sounds familiar to parents of autistic children.
According to the authors, the available evidence for the effectiveness of any of these interventions is limited, and even for those that seem to have an effect, how long the effect lasts is simply unknown. The longest term they could drum up was 6 months.