The New Sensory Processing Measure 2 (SPM-2)
The Sensory Processing Measure 2 has been a staple in children’s sensory assessments since it was released in 2007. Historically, the assessment has measured sensory processing difficulties in preschool and school-aged children in the home and school environments.
However, several new updates give the 2021 version a broader applicability among clients.
The Sensory Processing Measure 2 test
The Sensory Processing Measure 2 (SPM-2) is a questionnaire that can be self-reported by adult clients, or filled out by a parent, teacher, or caregiver for pediatric clients. The individual reporting out will be asked several questions about the client’s ability to process sensory information. For example, it may ask ‘does the client avoid places with loud music or noise?’ The rater will then provide the answer that best describes the frequency of the behavior.
Scoring is as follows:
- Always: 4
- Frequently: 3
- Occasionally: 2
- Never: 1
The self-report design of the assessment allows the therapist to gain insight to many behaviors that would be difficult to fully recognize within a short observation period. Parents and caregivers will be able to objectively report on areas of need and adolescents or adults who self-report will be able to contribute their history and start the intervention process in a client-centered manner.
Sensory Processing Measure 2 scales
Each of the forms have a total of 80 items that are divided into distinct scales. They are the same as the prior version and include assessments of the all the senses:
- Vision: A test item may state ‘this student loses their place when copying text’ with the choices of always, frequently, occasionally, or never.
- Hearing: Student hums, sings, or makes unusual noises.
- Touch: Student lashes out or withdraws when touched by others.
- Taste and smell: Student gags or vomits at certain smells.
- Body awareness: Student plays too roughly with peers.
- Balance and motion: Student trips, falls, or loses balance when running or playing sports.
- Sensory total: Consists of a total of the above categories.
- Planning and ideas: Student needs more practice than others to learn a new task.
- Social participation: Student easily shifts from one activity to another.
Changes with the Newly Revised Sensory Processing Measure (SPM-2)
- New infant and adult additions allow therapists to use this tool across the lifespans including ages four months to 87 years.
- Updated norms with a larger sample size.
- Forms are now more specific to age ranges and include infant/toddler, preschool, child, adolescent, and adult options. For example, the adolescent and adult age groups have a ‘driving’ form that will help determine sensory processing abilities that are necessary for driving.
Sensory Processing Measure materials
Sensory Processing Measure 2 kits can be purchased as online kits or printed forms and manuals. Prices for online and print materials are the same. Each kit has relevant report forms to examine sensory processing in different environments.
For example, the SPM Child kit includes:
- An online manual
- 25 child home forms
- 25 child school forms
- SPM-2 child quick tips
- Unlimited uses of the school environment forms
The short administration time of 15-20 minutes allows the therapist to get a clearer picture of sensory processing across different environments without needing to make direct (and often lengthy) observations.
Quick tips is an excellent new feature of the Sensory Processing Measure 2. For those opting for the online version, you can easily obtain and report on recommended strategies. Therapists can prioritize strategies by sorting based on the client’s sensory system, dimensions, or problematic areas. This feature can also help therapists create a plan of care or client education that isn’t overwhelming. For example, the therapist can focus on providing strategies for a high-priority area before moving on to providing interventions and strategies for an area of lesser need.
The assessment can be completely administered and scored online. The price for the online evaluation kit is easily justified when the therapist does not have to take the time to manually score and interpret the test items. However, print forms are perforated with carbon copy inside that becomes superimposed onto the scoresheet, making it quick for manual scoring.
The clinical interpretation of an evaluation is one of the most crucial components, yet with sensory evaluations, writing a narrative can be time-consuming and is often confusing for individuals outside of the occupational therapy field. This downside is greatly reduced when therapists purchase the online version. However, even with the online version the clinician will likely write a narrative to link clinical observations with the assessment results.
For therapists who treat across the lifespan, the updated age range of birth through adulthood is exciting! However, there are a total of 20 different forms that need to be purchased in different age-range kits, a downside for a practitioner looking for an all-in-one package.
The Sensory Profile-2 is an alternative assessment that measures sensory processing.
The first version consisted of separate measures for infants and toddlers, children, adolescents and adults, and came with a school companion. Similar to the SPM-2, the latest version of the sensory profile (2014) combines the younger ages and school companion into one comprehensive assessment.
Another alternative is the Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile. Like the other assessments, this one also has a variety of statements that the rater will report from a range of ‘almost never’ to ‘almost always.’ One thing that sets this assessment apart from the others is the process of filling out and scoring the form is intended to be educational for the client. There are four quadrants: Low registration, sensory seeking, sensory sensitivity, and sensation avoiding. The process and results are client-centered and the language used can simplify the complexities of sensory processing.
The authors of the SPM-2 considered the context of different age groups to create relevant areas to collect and assess information about sensory processing. The forms and scoring options are thoughtfully designed for therapists to administer and score.
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(SPM™-2) Sensory Processing Measure 2, Second Edition and SPM-2 Quick Tips by L. Diane Parham, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Cheryl L. Ecker, MA, OTR/L, Heather Kuhaneck, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Diana A. Henry, MS, OT/L, FAOTA, Tara J. Glennon, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA
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