The therapeutic efficacy of osteopathy in treating children with auditory processing and perception disorders – pilot study –


The aim of the pilot study was to examine the therapeutic efficacy of osteopathy in treating children with auditory processing and perception disorders.
Controlled, randomised, clinical pilot study using a main group and a control group.
The study was conducted with outpatients at the Centre for Child Development in Hamburg, Germany, (Director Dr. Inge Flehmig). Initial and final examinations were performed by qualified psychologists practising at the centre, as well as by ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists based in and around Hamburg.
34 school children aged between 7 and 13 were randomly allocated to a main group and a control group using a ratio of 2:1.
Patients in the main group were treated by two osteopaths (11-14 therapy sessions over 10-15 months). Patients in the control group were treated by practitioners of ergonomic, learning and motion therapy (once or twice per week over 10-15 months). Duration of the pilot study for each patient: 13-18 months Overall duration of the pilot study: November 2000 – December 2002.
Main outcome measure
• Relevant auditory sub-tests from four validated psychological/paedagogical examinations (as recommended by the German Society for Phoniatrics and Paedaudiology (DGPP), 2000):
1. K-ABC Test (repeating numbers, repeating word sequences, reading/comprehension)
2. HAWIK Test (repeating numbers)
3. Psycho-linguistic development test (memorising number sequences, combining sounds)
4. Diagnostic spelling test (percentage ranking)
• ENT specialist’s examination results regarding the “auditory processing and perception disorder” diagnosis
Osteopathic treatment of the main group achieved a statistically significant improvement in respect of seven out of eight principal parameters when compared with the control group. The therapeutic efficacy achieved was relevant in clinical terms. The psychological/paedagogical tests given to the osteopathy group showed an improvement of about 21%, while a deterioration of about 3% was found in the control group. In 16 children of the osteopathy group examined by an ENT specialist towards the end of the study, there was either none, or only a slight degree of auditory processing and perception disorder diagnosed. This represents a success rate of 89% which compares with only 33% in the control group.
This study has shown osteopathy to be an effective, integrated method of treatment for children with auditory processing and perception disorders.