Sensory processing disabilities in childhood-onset generalized epilepsy

Eli Shahar, Sharon Zlotnik, Sarit Ravid, Batya Engel-Yeger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensory processing abilities involve the registration and modulation of sensory information and the internal organization of sensory input. These abilities are necessary for executing successful responses to the environmental demands and thus for meaningful engagement in daily activities. Sensory processing disabilities are defined as inability to process sensory stimuli in a graded manner and to execute behaviors that are suitable to the degree, nature or intensity of the sensory stimuli. As such, sensory processing disabilities may affect function, behavior and quality of life in a negative manner. At present, the sensory profile of children with generalized epilepsy has not been fully elucidated. The purpose of the study was to assess possible sensory processing disabilities within all sensory modalities in children with generalized epilepsy. Forty-eight children at the age of 6-10.9 yr participated including 22 patients with generalized epilepsy compared with 26 age and gender matched controls. A standardized Short Sensory Profile questionnaire including 38 items was given to caregivers to report, measured tactile and taste/ smell sensitivities, movement sensitivity; under-responsive/seeks sensation, auditory filtering, low energy/weak sensation and visual/auditory sensitivity. We have found that children with generalized epilepsy had significantly higher sensory processing disabilities in all sensory modalities compared with controls and even showed extreme patterns of under-responsive/sensation seeking. These results are preliminary given a rather small group of patients in each tests group and should be verified in large groups. The present study further delineates the growing bulk of data recognizing generalized epilepsy among children as a multi-faceted neurological disorder with diverse functional disabilities also including sensory processing dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Generalized epilepsy
  • auditory filtering
  • children
  • hypersensitivity
  • sensory processing disabilities
  • short sensory profile
  • tactile sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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