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Can you know me better? an exploratory study combining behavioural and physiological measurements for an objective assessment of sensory responsiveness in a child with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities

Journal title
Journal of applied research in intellectual disabilities : JARID
Publication year
Lima, M.; Silva, K.; Magalhaes, A.; Amaral, I.; Pestana, H.; de Sousa, L.

BACKGROUND: Sensory assessment of individuals with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities (PIMD) can be difficult for several reasons, including the idiosyncratic reactions that these individuals exhibit to environmental stimuli. This case report presents a combination of behavioural and physiological measurements aimed at providing an objective assessment of the sensory responsiveness of a child with PIMD. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The participant was presented with a set of nineteen stimuli commonly used during sensory interventions. Responsiveness to these stimuli was assessed in terms of motor movements, heart rate and electrodermal responses. RESULTS: Although the child only exhibited consistent motor reactions to three of the items, he showed consistent physiological reactions to a total of ten stimuli. CONCLUSIONS: Obtained data, although preliminary, suggest that combining behavioural and physiological measurements may constitute a useful resource for assessing the actual responsiveness of individuals with PIMD. With such a resource, people close to these individuals could fine tune their interventions and guarantee their well-being.

Research abstracts