Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 1496–1506 | Cite as

A Pilot Study Examining Activity Participation, Sensory Responsiveness, and Competence in Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Stacey Reynolds
  • Roxanna M. Bendixen
  • Tami Lawrence
  • Shelly J. Lane
Original paper


This pilot study explored activity patterns in children with and without ASD and examined the role of sensory responsiveness in determining children’s level of competence in activity performance. Twenty-six children with high functioning ASD and twenty-six typically-developing children 6–12 years old were assessed using the Sensory Profile and the Child Behavior Checklist. Results reflect differences in the types of activities and jobs/chores engaged in by children with ASD compared to children without ASD. Significant differences were seen in overall level of competence in activities, social, and school performance. Children demonstrating more frequent Sensory Sensitivity and Sensory Avoiding had significantly lower competence scores than children with fewer behaviors in these domains, suggesting that sensory responsiveness may impact the ability to participate successfully.


Autism Sensory processing Sensory responsiveness Participation Competence Occupational therapy 



This research was supported by a grant from the Virginia Commonwealth University A.D. Williams Research fund and the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (K12 HD055929) Rehabilitation Research Career Development Program Award. The authors would like to thank Pediatric Therapy Network for their assistance with subject recruitment and data collection. Research assistants for this study were Kelli Bloom, Jennifer Elswick, Jessica Lynn, Carolyn Queck, Nicole Wray and Yoonjeong Lim.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stacey Reynolds
    • 1
  • Roxanna M. Bendixen
    • 2
  • Tami Lawrence
    • 3
  • Shelly J. Lane
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Occupational TherapyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Occupational TherapyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Division of Occupational TherapyMedical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA

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