BACKGROUND: Children with visual impairments (VI) are at risk for sensory processing difficulties. A widely used measure for sensory processing is the Sensory Profile (SP). However, the SP requires adaptation to accommodate for how children with VI experience sensory information.
AIMS: (1) To examine sensory processing patterns in young children with VI, (2) to develop VI-specific items to use in conjunction with the SP and to determine internal consistency and construct validity of these newly developed items, and (3) to examine the association between sensory processing and and emotional and behavioral problems.
METHODS: Twenty-six VI-specific items were added to the SP. The SP and these items were completed by caregivers of 90 children with VI between 3 and 8 years old. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was used to assess emotional and behavioral problems.
RESULTS: Three- to five-year-old children with VI have significantly more difficulties in three quadrants of the SP as compared to the norm group. Six- to eight-year-old children with VI have more difficulties in all quadrants. A reliable and valid VI-specific set of 15 items was established following psychometric evaluation. Age-related differences were found in the associations between the SP and CBCL.
CONCLUSION: Although further validation is recommended, this evaluation of the VI-specific item set suggests it has the potential to be a useful measure for children with VI.