Sensory Processing Subtypes in Autism: Association with Adaptive Behavior
- 4.6k Downloads
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.
KeywordsSensory processing Autism Subtypes Adaptive behavior Communication Model-based cluster analysis
We wish to express our gratitude to: the participating children and their parents, Ms Carrie Partington, for her involvement in data collection; Drs Paul Williamson and Simon Dennis for statistical support and advice; and Drs Lucy Miller and Sarah Schoen for their comments on early versions of this paper. This study was supported in part by the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation, South Australia.
- Adamson, A., O’Hare, A., & Graham, C. (2006). Impairments in sensory modulation in children with autistic spectrum disorder. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 357–364.Google Scholar
- Baranek, G. T., David, F. J., Poe, M. D., Stone, W. L., & Watson, L. R. (2006). Sensory experiences questionnaire: Discriminating sensory features in young children with autism, developmental delays, and typical development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 591–601.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Dunn, W. (1999). Sensory profile: User’s manual San Antonio. TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
- Kielhofner, G. (2006). Research in occupational therapy: Methods of inquiry for enhancing practice. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.Google Scholar
- Koenig, K. P., & Kinnealey, M. (2008). Research brief: Sensory, motor, and communication challenges for persons with autism spectrum disorders. Special Interest Section Quarterly: Sensory Integration, 31, 3–4.Google Scholar
- McIntosh, D. N., Miller, L. J., Shyu, V., & Dunn, W. (1999a). Overview of the short sensory profile. In W. Dunn (Ed.), The sensory profile examiner’s manual (pp. 59–73). San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
- Miller, L. J., Schoen, S., Coll, J., Brett-Green, B., & Reale, M. (2005). Final report: Quantitative psychophysiologic examination of sensory processing in children with autism spectrum disorders. Los Angeles, CA: Cure Autism Now.Google Scholar
- Sparrow, S. S., Balla, D. A., & Cicchetti, D. V. (1984). Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales: Interview edition survey form manual. Minnesota: American Guidance Service.Google Scholar
- Tomita, M. R. (2006). Methods of analysis: From univariate to multivariate statistics. In G. Kielhofner (Ed.), Research in occupational therapy: Methods of inquiry for enhancing practice. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.Google Scholar