Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 199–210

Subjective Perceptual Distortions and Visual Dysfunction in Children with Autism

  • Rebecca A. O. Davis
  • Marcia A. Bockbrader
  • Robin R. Murphy
  • William P. Hetrick
  • Brian F. O’Donnell
Article

Case reports and sensory inventories suggest that autism involves sensory processing anomalies. Behavioral tests indicate impaired motion and normal form perception in autism. The present study used first-person accounts to investigate perceptual anomalies and related subjective to psychophysical measures. Nine high-functioning children with autism and nine typically-developing children were given a questionnaire to assess the frequency of sensory anomalies, as well as psychophysical tests of visual perception. Results indicated that children with autism experience increased perceptual anomalies, deficits in trajectory discrimination consistent with dysfunction in the cortical dorsal pathway or in cerebellar midsagittal vermis, and high spatial frequency contrast impairments consistent with dysfunctional parvocellular processing. Subjective visual hypersensitivity was significantly related to greater deficits across vision tests.

KEY WORDS:

Autism; visual system; contrast sensitivity; sensory profile; motion processing; subjective distortions. 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca A. O. Davis
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marcia A. Bockbrader
    • 1
  • Robin R. Murphy
    • 1
  • William P. Hetrick
    • 1
  • Brian F. O’Donnell
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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