Special Issue "Brain Mechanisms of Sensory Processing Disorder"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Alexia E. Metz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606, USA
Interests: Sensory Processing Disorder; Childhood Occupations; Interprofessional Teaming

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nearly 50 years ago, drawing from the mid-century understanding of neural systems and theories of learning, Dr. A. Jean Ayres proposed that the brain processes sensory information across modalities “in order to formulate and execute an appropriate and survival-serving action”. She recognized the brain’s plasticity and proposed that the brain self organized through successful interactions with the environment which enhanced neural processing mechanisms. She hypothesized that disruptions in sensory integrative functions presented as observable syndromes, now referred to broadly as sensory processing disorder, which could interfere with perception, learning, self-regulation of arousal, emotion, and behavior, and motor planning and coordination. She suggested that the core concern was a “malfunction of the brain’s self-organizing mechanism”. Sensory processing disorder continues to present challenges for individuals—and their families—who struggle with its effects, practitioners who need to assess its symptoms and provide effective intervention strategies, and scientists who seek insight into its underlying factors. The findings of neuroscientists and clinical researchers who study brain development, experience-dependent plasticity, sensory processing, multimodal integration, and neural networking may be useful in advancing models and theories of sensory processing disorder. With insight into alternations in neural processing that may present as sensory processing disorder, reliable biomarkers may be developed for diagnosis and outcome measurements. Greater understanding of the underlying mechanisms and improved methods for detecting sensory processing disorder will propel development and testing of intervention options.

In this Special Issue, we are seeking submissions regarding the neural mechanisms of sensory processing disorders. We would welcome both primary research articles from basic and clinical sciences as well as review/perspective articles that systematically assess contemporary findings in light of Dr. A. Jean Ayres original formulation of Sensory Integration Theory as laid forth in her 1972 text Sensory Integration and Learning Disorders (Western Psychological Services, ISBN 0-87424-3303-3).

Prof. Dr. Alexia E. Metz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Brain Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sensory Gating
  • Sensory Integration
  • Sensory Responsivity
  • Sensory Regulation
  • Sensory Modulation
  • Motor Planning
  • Developmental Coordination
  • Postural Control
  • Ocular Control
  • Bilateral Coordination
  • Experience Dependent Plasticity
  • Neural Networks
  • Sensory Inhibition

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Review

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Review
A Review of Functional and Structural Neurobiology of the Action Observation Network in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Coordination Disorder
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9040075 - 28 Mar 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4356
Abstract
Recent research has reported motor impairment similarities between children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and a subgroup of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there is a debate as to whether DCD is a co-occurring diagnosis in individuals with ASD and motor [...] Read more.
Recent research has reported motor impairment similarities between children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and a subgroup of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, there is a debate as to whether DCD is a co-occurring diagnosis in individuals with ASD and motor impairments (ASDd), or if motor impairments in ASD are distinct from DCD. However, the etiology of motor impairments is not well understood in either disorder. Clarifying comorbidities in ASD is important to determine different etiopathological phenotyping clusters in ASD and to understand the variety of genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the disorder. Furthermore, this distinction has important therapeutic relevance. Here we explore the current neuroimaging findings in ASD and DCD and discusses possible neural mechanisms that underlie similarities and differences between the disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Mechanisms of Sensory Processing Disorder)
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Review
Ayres Theories of Autism and Sensory Integration Revisited: What Contemporary Neuroscience Has to Say
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9030068 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 11047
Abstract
Abnormal sensory-based behaviors are a defining feature of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. A. Jean Ayres was the first occupational therapist to conceptualize Sensory Integration (SI) theories and therapies to address these deficits. Her work was based on neurological knowledge of the 1970’s. [...] Read more.
Abnormal sensory-based behaviors are a defining feature of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Dr. A. Jean Ayres was the first occupational therapist to conceptualize Sensory Integration (SI) theories and therapies to address these deficits. Her work was based on neurological knowledge of the 1970’s. Since then, advancements in neuroimaging techniques make it possible to better understand the brain areas that may underlie sensory processing deficits in ASD. In this article, we explore the postulates proposed by Ayres (i.e., registration, modulation, motivation) through current neuroimaging literature. To this end, we review the neural underpinnings of sensory processing and integration in ASD by examining the literature on neurophysiological responses to sensory stimuli in individuals with ASD as well as structural and network organization using a variety of neuroimaging techniques. Many aspects of Ayres’ hypotheses about the nature of the disorder were found to be highly consistent with current literature on sensory processing in children with ASD but there are some discrepancies across various methodological techniques and ASD development. With additional characterization, neurophysiological profiles of sensory processing in ASD may serve as valuable biomarkers for diagnosis and monitoring of therapeutic interventions, such as SI therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Mechanisms of Sensory Processing Disorder)
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Other

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Perspective
Neural Foundations of Ayres Sensory Integration®
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(7), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9070153 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 9946
Abstract
Sensory integration, now trademarked as Ayres Sensory Integration® or ASI, is based on principles of neuroscience and provides a framework for understanding the contributions of the sensory and motor foundations of human behavior. The theory and practice of ASI continues to evolve [...] Read more.
Sensory integration, now trademarked as Ayres Sensory Integration® or ASI, is based on principles of neuroscience and provides a framework for understanding the contributions of the sensory and motor foundations of human behavior. The theory and practice of ASI continues to evolve as greater understanding of the neurobiology of human behavior emerges. In this paper we examine core constructs of ASI identified in the seminal work of Dr. Jean Ayres, and present current neuroscience research that underlies the main patterns of sensory integration function and dysfunction. We consider how current research verifies and clarifies Ayres’ propositions by describing functions of the vestibular, proprioceptive, and tactile sensory systems, and exploring their relationships to ocular, postural, bilateral integration, praxis, and sensory modulation. We close by proposing neuroplasticity as the mechanisms underlying change as a result of ASI intervention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Mechanisms of Sensory Processing Disorder)
Brief Report
Dunn’s Model of Sensory Processing: An Investigation of the Axes of the Four-Quadrant Model in Healthy Adults
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9020035 - 07 Feb 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3425
Abstract
We examined the behavioral response (BR) and threshold (T) axes of Dunn’s four-quadrant model of sensory processing (1997). We assessed whether they are ordinal ranges and if variation is associated with other similarly described characteristics: Introversion/Extraversion (I/E) of Eysenck’s personality model (Sato, 2005), [...] Read more.
We examined the behavioral response (BR) and threshold (T) axes of Dunn’s four-quadrant model of sensory processing (1997). We assessed whether they are ordinal ranges and if variation is associated with other similarly described characteristics: Introversion/Extraversion (I/E) of Eysenck’s personality model (Sato, 2005), and somatosensory event related potentials (SERP) and their gating (Davies & Gavin, 2007). From healthy adults (n = 139), we obtained: Adult/Adolescent Profile (A/ASP, Brown & Dunn, 2002) and Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire, Brief Version (Sato, 2005) scores and peak amplitude and gating factor of SERP P50. We found that BR scores did not differ across normative categories of the A/ASP, but T scores significantly increased along the axis. I/E scores did not vary with BR scores. There were no differences or correlations in P50 amplitudes and gating with T scores. The findings suggest that the BR axis may not reflect a construct with ordinal range, but the T axis may. Dunn’s concept of BR appears to be distinct from Eysenck’s concept of I/E. SERP and its gating may not be directly reflective of sensory processing thresholds in healthy adults. Conclusions are limited by having few participants with passive behavior regulation or low threshold patterns of processing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Mechanisms of Sensory Processing Disorder)
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