The SIPT (Ayres 1989) is one test battery used to assess for sensory integration difficulties. It is a collection of 17 tests that are designed to test various aspects of sensory perception, discrimination, reactivity and contribution to our praxis and ability to participate in everyday life.
It can, with mindful clinical reasoning, be used to assess people from 4 years, right across the lifespan – children, teenagers, adults and even older adults.
The 17 tests include tests that can identify patterns of sensory integration difficulties often associated with autism, ADHD, dyspraxia (sometimes considered a subtype of Developmental Co-ordination Disorder – DCD) and more generalised sensory integration/sensory processing difficulties (sometimes called sensory processing disorder or SPD). This set of tests can identify if difficulties in participating in everyday life are a result of problems registering, processing, integrating or reacting/responding to sensory information from the proprioception, touch, balance and visual systems.
The test was originally designed for use with children between the ages of 4 years through 8 years 11 months, but is increasingly used for older young people and adults, to indicate where sensory processing difficulties may have impacted on development and ability to participate in daily life.
The SIPT is intended to be primarily a tool to diagnose sensory integration dysfunction including praxis difficulties.
It should be only be used by those with post-graduate (or specific under-graduate) education in sensory integration. Assessment should gather and collect information in different ways and sensory integration assessment typically includes the use of a combination of assessments tools including parent/carer or self report tools like the Sensory Processing Measure (SPM)or Adolescent/Adult Sensory History (AASH) alongside interview, other testing and clinical observations to develop appropriate goals, plan outcomes measure and develop and carry out treatment plans.
The SIPT does not require the person to make verbal responses to the test items. It does require a person is able to focus and attend and be able to follow demonstration and verbal instructions. It may not be appropriate for use with all children with sensory integration and processing dysfunction.
The SIPT is increasingly being considered as a suitable assessment for use with adolescents and adults who are able to participate in more formal assessments techniques.
The plateauing of results above 8 years 11 months in the standardisation sample indicates developmental maturity of sensory integration.
Therefore deviations from the 8 years 11 months score in adolescents and adults may, as in the standardisation population, indicates specific organic problems processing sensory information, associated with learning disabilities, emotional disorders, and minimal brain dysfunction.
Statement compiled by Kathryn Smith, OT, 2011, following personal communication with Susanne Smith-Roley and Zoe Mailloux, SIPT Instructors, WPS.