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Compr Psychiatry. 2011 Nov-Dec;52(6):715-24. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.11.010. Epub 2011 Feb 9.

Phenotypes within sensory modulation dysfunction.

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Department of Family Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado 80045-0508, USA.


Sensory modulation disorder (SMD) is a severe inability to regulate responses to everyday sensory stimulation to which most people easily adapt. It is estimated to affect 5% to 16% of the general population of children. Although heterogeneity is seen in the presentation clinically, previous research has not empirically investigated whether the clinical heterogeneity of SMD can be classified into subtypes. This study explores a cohort of 98 children identified with SMD at the Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation by a member of the occupational therapy team at The Children's Hospital of Denver. Two subtypes of SMD were identified through cluster analysis based on data from 4 parent-report instruments. The first subtype is characterized by sensory seeking/craving, hyperactive, impulsive, externalizing (eg, delinquent, aggressive), unsocial, inadaptive, and impaired cognitive/social behavior. The second subtype is characterized by movement sensitivity, emotionally withdrawal, and low energy/weak behavior. Findings from this study present a step toward understanding and classifying the complexities of children with SMDs.

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