(SPM™) Sensory Processing Measure

by L. Diane Parham, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Cheryl Ecker, MA, OTR/L, Heather Miller Kuhaneck, MS, OTR/L, Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, and Tara J. Glennon, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA

(SPM™) Sensory Processing Measure

by L. Diane Parham, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Cheryl Ecker, MA, OTR/L, Heather Miller Kuhaneck, MS, OTR/L, Diana A. Henry, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, and Tara J. Glennon, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Benefits SPM provides a complete picture of children's sensory processing difficulties at school and at home. SPM-P extends the popular SPM down to age 2, making early intervention possible
Ages 5 to 12 years for SPM; 2 to 5 years (excluding 5-year-olds enrolled in kindergarten, for whom the SPM is the appropriate choice) for SPM-P
Admin time 15-20 minutes for each form
Norms SPM is based on a nationally representative sample of 1,051 children. Additional data were collected on a clinical sample of 345 children. SPM-P is based on a nationally representative sample of 651 typically developing 2- to 5-year-olds
Publish Date 2007
Qualifications Level C required.
About Qualification Levels
Translation Available in Danish, Finnish, & Swedish
Published Translations
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Spanish Forms Now Available!

SENSORY PROCESSING MEASURE (SPM) (2007)

HOME FORM BY L. DIANE PARHAM, PHD, OTR/L, FAOTA, AND CHERYL ECKER, MA, OTR/L

MAIN CLASSROOM AND SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS FORMS BY HEATHER MILLER KUHANECK, MS, OTR/L, DIANA A. HENRY, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, AND TARA J. GLENNON, EDD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Recognizing that sensory processing problems often manifest differently in different environments, this set of three integrated rating forms assesses sensory processing, praxis, and social participation at home, at school, and in the community.    

Firmly grounded in sensory integration theory, the SPM provides norm-referenced standard scores for two higher level integrative functions—praxis and social participation—and five sensory systems—visual, auditory, tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular functioning. Within each system, it offers descriptive clinical information on processing vulnerabilities, including under- and overresponsiveness, sensory-seeking behavior, and perceptual problems.

Three Forms

The SPM consists of three forms:

  • Home Form
  • Main Classroom Form
  • School Environments Form

 

The Home Form (75 items) is completed by the child’s parent or home-based care provider. The Main Classroom Form (62 items) is filled out by the child’s primary classroom teacher. And the School Environments Form (10 to 15 items per environment) is completed by other school personnel who work with and observe the child.

Each requiring just 15 to 20 minutes, the Home and Main Classroom Forms yield eight parallel standard scores:

  • Social Participation
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Body Awareness (proprioception)
  • Balance and Motion (vestibular function)
  • Planning and Ideas (praxis)
  • Total Sensory Systems

 

Scores for each scale fall into one of three interpretive ranges: Typical, Some Problems, or Definite Dysfunction. In addition, for the first time, an Environment Difference score permits direct comparison of the child’s sensory functioning at home and at school. While the scales on the Home and Main Classroom Forms are identical, the items themselves are specific to each environment. Individual item responses reveal how sensory difficulties manifest in these two different settings.

The School Environments Form, provided on an unlimited-use CD, lets you look at the child’s functioning in six school settings outside the main classroom: Art Class, Music Class, Physical Education, Recess/Playground, Cafeteria, and School Bus. Each environment has its own 5-minute Rating Sheet, which you can print out and distribute as needed. Cutoff scores indicate presence or absence of sensory processing problems in each setting—giving you a more comprehensive picture of the child.

Comprehensive, Clinically Rich, and Psychometrically Sound

The Home and Main Classroom Forms were standardized on the same population—a demographically representative sample of 1,051 typically developing children from kindergarten through sixth grade. A subsample of 306 children from the standardization sample was used to establish cutoff criteria for the School Environments Form. Studies reported in the Manual document that the SPM differentiates typical children from those with clinical disorders.

Whether you’re an occupational therapist, psychologist, teacher, social worker, counselor, physical therapist, speech–language pathologist, or nurse, you’ll find the SPM comprehensive and clinically rich. It supplies the information you want and the psychometric integrity you need.

SENSORY PROCESSING MEASURE–PRESCHOOL (SPM-P) (2010)

HOME FORM BY CHERYL ECKER, M.A., OTR/L, AND L. DIANE PARHAM, PHD, OTR/L, FAOTA

SCHOOL FORM BY HEATHER MILLER KUHANECK, M.S., OTR/L, FAOTA DIANA A. HENRY, M.S., OTR/L, FAOTA AND TARA J. GLENNON, ED.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

 

Now you can identify sensory processing difficulties in children as young as 2 years of age. The new preschool edition of the popular Sensory Processing Measure lets you take an early look at overall sensory functioning as well as specific vulnerabilities that can affect learning.

Appropriate for 2- to 5-year-olds, the SPM-P measures the same functions as the SPM: Social Participation; Vision; Hearing; Touch; Body Awareness; Balance and Motion; Planning and Ideas; and Total Sensory Systems.       Within each sensory system, the SPM-P items also reveal specific problems, including under- and over responsiveness, sensory-seeking behavior, and perceptual problems. In addition, the items provide information on the senses of taste and smell.

Comparison of Sensory Functioning at Home and Preschool

The SPM-P includes both a Home Form, completed by the parent, and a School Form, completed by the preschool teacher or day care provider. Each form is composed of 75 items that are rated according to frequency of easily observable behaviors. Used together, the two forms provide a comprehensive overview of sensory processing, and they allow you to quickly compare the child’s functioning across settings.

Norm-Referenced Standard Scores

The test generates a T-score for each SPM-P scale and characterizes the child’s status in descriptive terms as well (TypicalSome Problems, or Definite Dysfunction). An Environment Difference score alerts you to discrepancies in sensory functioning between home and preschool/day care.

Norms for both the Home and School Forms are based on a representative sample of 651 typically developing 2- to 5-year-olds. They are age-stratified to control for developmental differences between younger and older children. Data from a separate group of 242 youngsters—all receiving occupational therapy—demonstrate that SPM-P scales and items can differentiate typical children from those with clinical disorders, including autism.

Information That Parents Can Understand

Clinicians are enthusiastic about the SPM-P not only because it generates useful information, but also because it provides that information in a way that parents can understand. Scale names are comprehensible, results are summarized visually, and interpretation is clear-cut. These features make it easier for therapists to explain test results and engage parents in the treatment process.

Seamless Assessment From Preschool Through Age 12

Because the SPM-P is based on the same scale structure and theory as the SPM, you can monitor a child’s sensory development from preschool all the way through age 12. This kind of continuity is important when you’re treating children who require long-term follow-up. 

BY DIANA A. HENRY, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA

The new SPM and SPM-P Quick Tips is a collection of strategies for integrating sensory-based activities into a child’s everyday life. It’s a navigation tool to help answer the question “what’s next?” following administration of the SPM or SPM-P.

Key features:

  • Offers a framework based on careful standardized assessment developed from observations across multiple environments

  • Supports practitioners in using clinical reasoning and consultation skills in the intervention process

  • Provides a means of measuring qualitative progress through staff responses and quantitative progress through use of the SPM or SPM-P

  • Uses parent- and teacher-friendly language

  • Offers valuable information to assist in making decisions about intervention strategies based on clinical reasoning

  • Includes a data recording system to monitor progress

 

Primary users of the Quick Tips are occupational therapy practitioners in clinical, school, and community settings who have mentored with a sensory integration (SI) expert and are trained in SI and sensory processing. These practitioners can in turn teach others how to use the Quick Tips. Parents, teachers, school personnel, and other professionals can use the strategies and techniques as long as the therapy practitioner responsible for interpreting administration results provides direction.

 

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