Sensory Development Read the story below and only answer the three questions (250 words) use the sources I provided.
1.Ask at least one question in response to an original peer post that you would like the author to explore further.
2. compare and contrast your respective thoughts regarding how sensory systems work and impact childhood development, and offer constructive criticism and recommendations on how to address and offer advice to parents.
3. Additionally, identify any insights you have gained as a result of reading the responses of others.
Sensory development in early childhood is very important. Sensory systems development involves a number of sensories. Everything we (humans) do involves using our various sensories. Infants and young children begin to learn about the world they are exposed to by using the seven sensories. The seven sensory processes include taste, smell, touch, hearing, vision (seeing), body position sense, and movement sensations. Sensory development begins during gestation and continues throughout childhood. In general, sensory development refers to the maturing of the seven senses. It also involves the way an infant or child’s nervous system receives input from the various senses and then forms an appropriate motor or behavioral response.
Sensory development is crucial for a child’s development. It can impact a child’s perception of the world by affecting his or her emotional, cognitive, and physical development. When a child demonstrates a show of emotions, it allows the child to become a expressive and demonstrate his or her feelings through sounds, body language, and verbal words. Cognition is another link to sensory stimulation. The cognitive link involves conscious intellectual activities such as thinking, reasoning, and/or remembering. This process allows a child to begin to formulate his or her opinions and draw conclusions. Physical development is also linked to sensory stimulation in that it helps a child to grow while making decisions, developing concepts, and ideas to form a complete picture of the word. “As infants develop increasing motor competence, they use perceptual information to inform their choices about which motor actions to take (Adolph and Joh 2007).”
I would suggest to a parent to allow their infant and young child to interact with children that are within their age group for their systems to develop their social skills and home adaptations. Engaged the children to be a part of a group activity that will allow them to become familiar with their sense of taste, smell, touch, body positioning, movement, vision, and hearing.
In conclusion, there are seven senses that are crucial for a child’s development. These senses of very important for the child’s growth, adaptation, and coordination. There are early childhood programs that are available to parents that will help them to make sure that their child stays on track with their growth and development. One of the programs is Babies Can’t Wait. This is a program from which many families can benefit.
Chia-Ting Su, & Parham, L. D. (2014). Validity of Sensory Systems as Distinct Constructs. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(5), 546–554. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.5014/…
Bahrick, L. E., Todd, J. T., & Soska, K. C. (2018). The Multisensory Attention Assessment Protocol (MAAP): Characterizing individual differences in multisensory attention skills in infants and children and relations with language and cognition. Developmental Psychology, 54(12), 2207–2225. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1037/… (Supplemental) Validity of Sensory Systems as Distinct Constructs
Chia-Ting Su, L. Diane Parham
This study investigated the validity of sensory systems as distinct measurable constructs as part of a larger
project examining Ayres’s theory of sensory integration. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted
to test whether sensory questionnaire items represent distinct sensory system constructs. Data were
obtained from clinical records of two age groups, 2- to 5-yr-olds (n 5 231) and 6- to 10-yr-olds
(n 5 223). With each group, we tested several CFA models for goodness of fit with the data. The accepted
model was identical for each group and indicated that tactile, vestibular–proprioceptive, visual, and auditory
systems form distinct, valid factors that are not age dependent. In contrast, alternative models that grouped
items according to sensory processing problems (e.g., over- or underresponsiveness within or across
sensory systems) did not yield valid factors. Results indicate that distinct sensory system constructs can be
measured validly using questionnaire data.
Su, C.-T., & Parham, L. D. (2014). Validity of sensory systems as distinct constructs. American Journal of Occupational
Therapy, 68, 546–554. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.012518
Chia-Ting Su, PhD, OTR, is Associate Professor, Fu
Jen Catholic University, College of Medicine, Department
of Occupational Therapy, New Taipei City, Taiwan.
L. Diane Parham, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor,
University of New Mexico School of Medicine,
Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, MSC09 5240, 1
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001;
heoretical constructs and therapeutic strategies from the Ayres Sensory
Integration (ASI) conceptual framework (Ayres, 1972, 1979) are widely
used by occupational therapy practitioners who provide services for children. In
this framework, sensory integration (i.e., the brain’s organization of sensation for
use) is viewed as integral to the child’s successful performance of daily occupations (Ayres, 1979; Parham, 2002). Problems with sensory integration (SI)
may affect not only a child’s physical enactment of activities, but also his or her
feelings of competency in the context of social participation.
One of the most fundamental ideas in the ASI conceptual framework is that
the early developing, body-centered senses (tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive) provide a foundation for the development of later maturing visual
and auditory systems (Ayres, 1972, 1979). In her synthesis of neurobiological
and developmental research, Ayres theorized that early development and integration of the tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems allow for the
formation of body scheme, object concepts, and body-centered spatial mapping
of the environment. These elementary functions eventually become automatized and serve as a platform for the layering of more complex auditory and
visual functions (Ayres, 1972, 1979; Smith Roley, 2005). The proposition that
the tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive sensory systems provide a foundation
for more complex auditory and visual processing could be tested in research,
but this testing would require the use of valid measures of discrete sensory
This study was designed specifically to test the discreteness of sensory system
measures in preparation for further research examining whether functions of the
tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive systems serve as a foundation for visual and
auditory functioning, as Ayres’s theory proposes. In past research, exploratory
factor analysis methods were used with Sensory Profile questionnaire items
(Dunn & Brown, 1997). Results did not depict sensory systems as discrete
constructs. Instead, Sensory Profile items formed factors that incorporated
September/October 2014, Volume 68, Number 5
multiple sensory systems into different types of patterns,
such as sensory avoiding or sensory seeking. In contrast,
exploratory factor analysis of data from a different
questionnaire, the Sensory Processing Measure, suggested
that items represented sensory systems as distinct constructs (Parham, Ecker, Miller Kuhaneck, Henry, &
Glennon, 2007). However, the exploratory factor analytic
techniques used in past research on the Sensory Profile
and Sensory Processing Measure are not designed to
rigorously test whether item data support a particular
In contrast to previous research, the current study used
confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), a statistical technique
specifically designed to test whether measures are consistent with a particular theoretical perspective (Jöreskog,
1969). We used CFA to test whether sensory questionnaire
items form factors that represent sensory systems as distinct theoretical constructs in order to determine the
feasibility of future research to test Ayres’s premise that
some sensory systems form a foundation for other sensory
system functions. In the current study, if CFA showed
that items did not cohere within distinct sensory systems,
it would not be feasible to test this premise. However, if
CFA confirmed that items fit a measurement model of
distinct sensory systems, future research could be conducted to examine Ayres’s premise that tactile, vestibular,
and proprioceptive systems provide a foundation for
auditory and visual system functioning.
The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the
validity of sensory system measures as distinct constructs.
This purpose was important because strong evidence of the
validity of sensory system measures must be ascertained
before future research can examine the theoretical interrelationships among sensory systems Ayres proposed.
A secondary purpose of this study was to identify
whether sensory systems operate as distinct constructs in
a consistent manner across age groups spanning early
through middle childhood. Past research has indicated
that rapid development of SI occurs between the preschool and elementary school ages (Ayres, 1989), raising
the possibility that developmental changes may influence
relationships among sensory systems. No previous research has examined this possibility. If developmental
changes in sensory constructs are found, such changes
would need to be addressed in future research examining
Ayres’s proposition that tactile, vestibular, and proprioceptive sensory systems provide a foundation for
auditory and visual processing.
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy
We used CFA to test whether five sensory systems—
tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, auditory, and visual—
form valid, distinct factors. We created CFA models
independently for two age groups because of the possibility that developmental changes might affect interrelationships among sensory systems. CFA is designed to
test the hypothesized linkages between observed variables
(in this study, sensory questionnaire item ratings) and
their underlying constructs, called latent variables (in this
study, underlying sensory processes). CFA also computes
correlations among latent variables. In CFA, relationships
among variables are hypothesized before statistical procedures are conducted on the basis of a theory being
tested, empirical research, or both (Bentler & Chou,
1987; Byrne, 1994).
Data Collection Procedures
Data came from the clinical records of children whose
parents had filled out a questionnaire, the Evaluation of
Sensory Processing (ESP)–Research Version 4 (Parham &
Ecker, 2002), as part of routine clinical assessment procedures at sites in California, Colorado, and Texas, where
the children received occupational therapy for their sensory integration problems. Staff at these sites identified
children who met eligibility criteria and sent photocopies
of their completed ESP forms to the researchers after
blocking out any information that might identify the
children. A research university institutional review board
deemed the study exempt from review because all data
ESP questionnaires for 454 children with SI problems
were analyzed. Occupational therapists with formal
training and experience in ASI theory and practice,
including assessment using the Sensory Integration and
Praxis Tests (Ayres, 1989), identified children with SI
problems at their clinical sites. Children were excluded
if they had cerebral palsy, hearing loss, or severe visual
impairments because their parents’ responses would
reflect the effects of significant motor disorders or
sensory losses rather than SI functioning. We analyzed
two age groups separately. The younger group consisted of 231 children ages 2 yr, 0 mo, to 5 yr, 11 mo,
with a mean age of 3 yr, 9 mo (SD 5 13.42 mo). The
older group consisted of 223 children ages 6 yr, 0 mo,
to 10 yr, 11 mo, with a mean age of 7 yr, 8 mo (SD 5
16.35 mo). No other demographic information was
Table 1. Subdomains of the Evaluation of Sensory Processing
The ESP–Research Version 4 (Parham & Ecker, 2002)
contains 76 items divided into six sensory system categories: (1) tactile (21 items), (2) proprioceptive (12 items),
(3) vestibular (15 items), (4) auditory (10 items), (5)
gustatory/olfactory (5 items), and (6) visual (13 items). A
total sensory score represents the sum of all item ratings.
Each item describes the child’s behavioral response to
some sensory experience in a natural situation. For example, an auditory item is “Is your child bothered by any
household or ordinary sounds, such as the vacuum, hair
dryer, or toilet flushing?” The parent is asked to rate his or
her child’s behavioral responses on an ordinal scale with
five levels of frequency: always, often, sometimes, rarely,
Past research has indicated that the ESP has strong
content validity (LaCroix, 1993) and strong discriminant
validity (a type of construct validity) in distinguishing
children with and without clinical problems such as SI
dysfunction or autism spectrum disorder (Johnson-Ecker
& Parham, 2000; Lee, 1999). The current study adds
to the evidence regarding construct validity of the ESP.
Interrater reliability using mother and father ratings is adequate (Chang, 1999), and internal consistency coefficients
for most sensory scales are high across studies (Chang,
1999; Lee, 1999). Normative data are not available for the
ESP. However, the ESP contributed to the development
of a nationally normed questionnaire for clinical use, the
Sensory Processing Measure Home Form (Ecker & Parham,
2010; Parham & Ecker, 2007).
ESP items that were both psychometrically strong and
clinically valuable were assembled to create Research
Version 4 of the ESP (Parham & Ecker, 2002), which we
used in the current study. Additionally, the ESP authors
categorized items within each sensory system of ESP–
Research Version 4 (except the gustatory/olfactory system)
into subdomains reflecting various types of sensory processing and sensory–motor problems. These subdomains
within each sensory system, along with the number of
items in each subdomain, are summarized in Table 1.
Higher ESP scores indicate fewer sensory problems. The
response of always for an ESP item usually indicates
relatively greater behavioral difficulty. Therefore, for most
of the items, the response of always was coded as 1, often
as 2, sometimes as 3, rarely as 4, and never as 5. Only two
items were coded in opposition, with always coded 5 and
never coded 1: vestibular Item 3 (“Does your child have
good balance?”) and vestibular Item 5 (“Does your child
Regulation of muscle tone and force
No. of Items
Underresponsiveness or seeking
Visual–motor attention and control
like fast spinning carnival rides, such as merry-go-rounds?”).
The coding of Item 5 was based on findings of previous
studies that showed that parents of typically developing
children tended to rate this item always or often, in
contrast to parents of children with sensory integration
problems (Johnson-Ecker & Parham, 2000) or autism
(Lee, 1999), who more often answered never or rarely for
We excluded an ESP questionnaire from the data
analysis if all the items within a single sensory system were
missing responses or if the total number of answered items
across all sensory systems was fewer than half of all the ESP
items. Such major omissions usually occurred when an
error had been made in printing the questionnaire or when
parents had skipped the back side of a page. Questionnaires retained for data analysis (N 5 454) were
coded and entered into a database. Before data analysis,
any missing responses were replaced by the average score
for that particular item from all the collected questionnaires in the same age group.
Merging the two age groups would have provided
a larger sample size, which is desirable in a CFA study.
However, we analyzed data obtained from the younger age
group separately from data on the older age group to
examine whether developmental changes appear to influence the distinctness of sensory systems. ESP data from
the older group contained three visual items related to
academic tasks that were not completed for the younger
Data analysis procedures were identical for each age
group. Because ESP ratings produce ordinal data, frequency distributions of all items were tested for normality
before further analysis. For both groups, all items in the
five sensory systems of interest satisfied statistical criteria
September/October 2014, Volume 68, Number 5
for the assumption of normal distribution—that is, absolute
value of skewness £3 (Glasnapp & Poggio, 1985; Kline,
1998) and absolute value of kurtosis £10 (Kline, 1998).
Therefore, no transformation of data was necessary before
conducting CFA procedures. The normal distributions in
these data were consistent with previous research showing
that ESP scores of children with SI dysfunction were
more variable than those of children without dysfunction,
who almost always had highly skewed data because most
items were rated as rarely or never observed (JohnsonEcker & Parham, 2000); ESP items are designed to be
sensitive to SI problem behaviors that are infrequent
among typically developing children. The data in the
current study were derived entirely from clinically identified children with SI problems, so the heterogeneous
nature of SI dysfunction is probably responsible for the
wide distribution of ESP scores.
Before conducting the CFA procedures, we computed
the internal consistency of each sensory system score and
the total ESP score to assess the reliability of the data for
each age group. Then we constructed models that depicted
the factors being tested and each factor’s indicators (i.e.,
composites of items thought to measure the factor). Next,
we tested the hypothesized linkages between the indicators
and their underlying factors for each group through CFA.
Data were analyzed using EQS (Bentler, 1995), a computer software package that is designed specifically for
CFA and structural equation modeling procedures.
We used two kinds of fit indexes, the absolute fit index
and the incremental fit index, to judge whether collected
data fit each hypothesized CFA model. An absolute fit
index evaluates how well a hypothesized model reproduces
patterns in the collected data. One widely used absolute
fit index is the standardized root-mean-square residual
(SRMR). SRMR is more sensitive to misspecified factor
covariance or latent structure than any other fit index
(Bentler, 1995; Hu & Bentler, 1999). An incremental fit
index assesses the proportionate improvement in fit when
the data are fit to the studied model versus a more restricted, nested baseline model. One incremental fit index, the comparative fit index (CFI), is highly sensitive to
models with misspecified factor loadings (Hu & Bentler,
1999) and is recommended when assessing goodness of fit
When participants are fewer than 250, experts recommend that researchers use both SRMR and CFI to
evaluate the fit between model and data (Hu & Bentler,
1999). Therefore, in this study we used both SRMR and
CFI with each group analysis to evaluate the goodness of
fit between model and data. According to Hu and Bentler
(1999), the value for CFI should ideally be .95 or greater.
The American Journal of Occupational Therapy
However, a CFI of .90 is considered acceptable (Byrne,
1994; Kline, 1998; Mulligan, 1998). SRMR should be
below .08 to conclude that a good fit exists between the
hypothesized model and the collected data (Hu & Bentler,
We computed Cronbach’s a for each ESP sensory system
score and for the total score (see Table 2). Results indicated adequate to excellent internal consistency for five
sensory systems (tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular, auditory, and visual) and excellent internal consistency for the
total score in both age groups. Internal consistency for all
sensory systems was slightly higher for the older age
group. Internal consistency was lowest for the gustatory/
olfactory system in both age groups, particularly the
younger group, a finding consistent with earlier studies
that revealed lower alphas for the gustatory and olfactory
systems relative to the other sensory systems (Chang,
1999; Johnson, 1996).
Initially Hypothesized Model
In the initial CFA model tested, we divided ESP items into
indicators that represent subdomains (i.e., types of sensory
processing problems shown in Table 1) within each of the
five sensory systems emphasized in Ayres’s theory, which
formed the factors. We created this model to examine the
hypothesis that types of sensory processing problems
might best explain variability within each sensory system.
This hypothesis is consistent with the current literature,
which emphasizes different types of processing differences
or problems (Dunn, 2001; Parham & Mailloux, 2010).
Results indicated that in both age groups the CFI was
.770, which was too low to be acceptable. Also, factor
loadings of indicators (i.e., sensory system subdomains)
were too low to be acceptable. Only one factor, visual
system, accounted for more than 50% of the variance in
Table 2. Cronbach’s a for Sensory System and Total Scores
its indicators, which is the criterion for factor validity.
The other factors (i.e., sensory systems) accounted for
24%–49% of the variance in their indicators for the
younger group and 31%–45% in the older group. Thus,
this model was rejected for both groups.
We did not use exploratory factor analysis after the
initially hypothesized model was rejected because the
overarching purpose of this study was to test specific
constructs in SI theory. The rejection of an initially hypothesized model is not unusual. If modified models can
be created on the basis of theory, as was the case in this
study, researchers often use these modified models in
CFA (Byrne, 1994). Thus, to find a better fitting CFA
model, we regrouped ESP items to form different sets of
indicators. On the basis of these modifications, we created
new alternative models and analyzed them for goodness of
fit with the data.
Alternative Model With Sensory Processing Problems
The first alternative CFA model was organized solely
around types of sensory processing probl…
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