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Jefferson OTs Co-Authored a “2013/2014 Most Influential Article” on Autism


The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders recently recognized an article authored by Jefferson faculty as “Most Influential for 2013/2014” and “Top Downloaded for 2013/2014.” Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy in the Jefferson School of Health Professions, is the first author on the article.

“An Intervention for Sensory Difficulties in Children with Autism: A Randomized Trial” described a rigorous trial of occupational therapy using sensory integration for children with autism, compared to usual care.

“This study was important because so many children have sensory difficulties that impact their behavior and participation in everyday activities. These sensory difficulties include sensitivity to sounds and touch, craving intense movement, or difficulty with body awareness (unconscious knowledge of the physical body and how to use it adaptively for tasks and activities). Up to this point there was not strong evidence on how to address these sensory difficulties,” said Dr. Schaaf. “Occupational therapy using sensory integration, which is what we tested in this study, is one of the most requested therapies by parents of children with autism and now we have evidence to show that it is effective in helping reduce sensory difficulties and foster participation in everyday activities.”

Dr. Schaaf and her colleagues are working on several projects that follow up on their study.