Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy
Rebecca Wolf, JD, MPH, OTR/L
Introduction: Feeding difficulties are quite common in children and can lead to a multitude of poor health outcomes. Children with sensory processing difficulties can present with feeding difficulties. The relationship between sensory processing and feeding difficulties in children has been previously researched. However, most of the existing research focuses on children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Methods: The purpose of the present study was to identify the association between sensory processing and food sensitivities in children of varying diagnoses using retrospective data. In the study, the researcher included 47 children who presented to an outpatient pediatric clinic for a feeding evaluation . Using SPSS to determine the correlations between scores on the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM) or Sensory Processing Measure-Preschool (SPM-P), the Brief Assessment of Mealtime Behaviors in Children (BAMBIC), and a Food Preference Checklist, the researcher conducted correlational statistics . Results: The researchers found weak correlations between scores on the SPM/SPM-P and scores on the BAMBIC and Food Preference Checklist. Moderate correlations were found between specific test items on the BAMBIC related to food selectivity and the body awareness subtest of the SPM/SPM-P. One BAMBIC test item also had a moderate correlation with the total sensory score of the SPM/SPM-P. Discussion: The researcher found some associations between sensory processing and feeding, particularly with body awareness. The results indicate the importance of identifying and addressing body awareness (proprioception) and oral motor skills in children presenting with feeding difficulties. Based on the results, implications exist for occupational therapy practice and future research. Conclusion: The current study aimed to identify the associations between sensory processing and food sensitivities in children of varying diagnoses. Statistically significant results were found, demonstrating that body awareness (proprioception) is correlated to feeding.
Tonks, Taylor, "Identifying an Association Between Sensory Processing and Food Sensitivities" (2022). OT Student Capstones. 9.