Sensory processing differences and urinary incontinence in school-aged children

E. T. Cupelli
L. Escallier
N. Galambos
S. Xiang
I. Franco


OBJECTIVE: Urinary Incontinence (UI) is a common problem among school-aged children (5-11 years). Symptoms such as urgency, diminished awareness of wetting, or apparent apathy may represent differences in sensory processing (SP). This study aims to describe the SP abilities of incontinent school-aged children with typical development to determine if they differ from established norms for continent children. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The SP abilities of 209 school-aged children with UI were evaluated using the short sensory profile (SSP), a judgment-based caregiver questionnaire, then compared with established norms using descriptive and inferential statistics. RESULTS: Forty-four percent of children showed significant differences in global SP with the greatest differences noted in tactile sensitivity. Higher section subscores were also noted in "seeks sensation/under responsive" and "auditory sensitivity". Children with dysfunctional voiding (DV) were more likely to show global differences (p = 0.015), differences in "seeks sensation" (p = 0.006), and auditory sensitivity (p = 0.041). The odds for low tactile sensitivity scores were five times greater for children with UI and DV (p = 0.006). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that differences in SP may be found among typical school aged children with UI. Continued research is indicated to understand the significance of the study results.