Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 37, Issue 5, pp 894–910

Describing the Sensory Abnormalities of Children and Adults with Autism

  • Susan R. Leekam
  • Carmen Nieto
  • Sarah J. Libby
  • Lorna Wing
  • Judith Gould
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-006-0218-7

Cite this article as:
Leekam, S.R., Nieto, C., Libby, S.J. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2007) 37: 894. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0218-7

Abstract

Patterns of sensory abnormalities in children and adults with autism were examined using the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO). This interview elicits detailed information about responsiveness to a wide range of sensory stimuli. Study 1 showed that over 90% of children with autism had sensory abnormalities and had sensory symptoms in multiple sensory domains. Group differences between children with autism and clinical comparison children were found in the total number of symptoms and in specific domains of smell/taste and vision. Study 2 confirmed that sensory abnormalities are pervasive and multimodal and persistent across age and ability in children and adults with autism. Age and IQ level affects some sensory symptoms however. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Keywords

Sensory abnormalitiesDiagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO)AutismLanguage impairmentLearning disabilityTypical development

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan R. Leekam
    • 1
  • Carmen Nieto
    • 2
  • Sarah J. Libby
    • 3
  • Lorna Wing
    • 4
  • Judith Gould
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Science LaboratoriesUniversity of DurhamDurhamUK
  2. 2.Departamento de Psicología BásicaFacultad de Psicología, Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Child and Adolescent Mental Health ServiceUnited Bristol Healthcare TrustBristolUK
  4. 4.Centre for Social and Communication DisordersNational Autistic SocietyBromley, KentUK