Original Paper

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 112-122

First online:

Sensory Processing Subtypes in Autism: Association with Adaptive Behavior

  • Alison E. LaneAffiliated withSchool of Allied Medical Professions, The Ohio State University Email author 
  • , Robyn L. YoungAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Flinders University
  • , Amy E. Z. BakerAffiliated withSchool of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia
  • , Manya T. AngleyAffiliated withSansom Institute, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Children with autism are frequently observed to experience difficulties in sensory processing. This study examined specific patterns of sensory processing in 54 children with autistic disorder and their association with adaptive behavior. Model-based cluster analysis revealed three distinct sensory processing subtypes in autism. These subtypes were differentiated by taste and smell sensitivity and movement-related sensory behavior. Further, sensory processing subtypes predicted communication competence and maladaptive behavior. The findings of this study lay the foundation for the generation of more specific hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of sensory processing dysfunction in autism, and support the continued use of sensory-based interventions in the remediation of communication and behavioral difficulties in autism.


Sensory processing Autism Subtypes Adaptive behavior Communication Model-based cluster analysis