Faculty Advisor(s)

Maureen Rinehimer



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Introduction: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common mental disorder that poses significant effects on an individual’s ability to effectively carry out daily functions; characteristics include hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive behaviors (Dogru; Kadam). ADHD is problematic for school-aged children; children with ADHD lack the ability to integrate sensory information. The purpose of this systematic review is to explore the effectiveness of sensory integration therapy in managing ADHD symptoms in school aged children.

Methods: A search of literature was conducted during September of 2022 and January of 2023. Databases used to complete the search included EBSCO Host, Academic Search Ultimate, and National Library of Medicine. Search terms comprised children or kids or youth, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactive disorder or attention deficit-hyperactive disorder, children with ADHD, and sensory integration or sensory modulation or sensory integration therapy or sensory based intervention. The search yielded forty-two academic journals total, with eleven journals meeting inclusion criteria of publication date between 2006-2022, subjects between the ages of six through twelve, subjects with a diagnosis of ADHD, and subjects who have undergone sensory integration therapy. Each journal was reviewed and scored using the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine 2011 Levels of Evidence.

Results: Eleven articles were included in this study. An analysis using the Hierarchy of Evidence Scale identified two articles as level 2 and 9 as level three. Articles used common outcome measures, such as Parent-Teacher reports and ADHD scales. These outcome measures were sued to look at how sensory integration impacted motor control, executive function and sensory processing in children with ADHD.

Discussion: Sensory integration therapy provides interventions that target seven key senses including; tactile, visual, olfactory, taste, auditory, proprioception, and vestibular. Interventions are delivered at varying intensities in order to desensitize the individual to achieve a more controlled response to daily environments. Overall, research has supported that sensory integration therapy helps improve sensory integration, motor control, and executive function and can lead to long term benefits in children with ADHD. Improvements in these areas may lead to improved behaviors, academic achievement, and social development. Implicating sensory integration interventions into physical therapy treatment sessions in school-aged children with ADHD will be beneficial for the children based on the evidence found in our systematic review.

Conclusion: Sensory integration therapy is a beneficial intervention to improve symptoms in children with ADHD. More research is needed to further support the benefits of sensory integration therapy.

Publication Date


Document Type



Physical Therapy


ADHD, sensory integration, sensory processing disorder


Physical Therapy

Effectiveness of Sensory Integration on School-Age Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder