Advertisement

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 287–293 | Cite as

Measuring Sensory Reactivity in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Application and Simplification of a Clinician-Administered Sensory Observation Scale

  • Teresa TavassoliEmail author
  • Katherine Bellesheim
  • Paige M. Siper
  • A. Ting Wang
  • Danielle Halpern
  • Michelle Gorenstein
  • David Grodberg
  • Alexander Kolevzon
  • Joseph D. Buxbaum
Original Paper

Abstract

Sensory reactivity is a new DSM-5 criterion for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The current study aims to validate a clinician-administered sensory observation in ASD, the Sensory Processing Scale Assessment (SPS). The SPS and the Short Sensory Profile (SSP) parent-report were used to measure sensory reactivity in children with ASD (n = 35) and typically developing children (n = 27). Sixty-five percent of children with ASD displayed sensory reactivity symptoms on the SPS and 81.1 % on the SSP. SPS scores significantly predicted SSP scores. We next identified the five SPS tasks that best differentiated groups. Our results indicate that a combination of parent-report and at least the five most differentiating observational tasks may be most sensitive in identifying the presence of sensory reactivity issues.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Sensory reactivity Sensory Processing Scale Assessment New DSM-5 criterion 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to all participants for taking part in our research. Special thanks to the Seaver Autism Center team; especially Sarah Soffes, B.A., Lauren Bush, B.A., Jesslyn Jamison, B.A., Lilly Schwartz, B.A., Stacey Lurie, B.A. and John Servinskas, B.A. Also thanks to Michael Parides, Lucy Miller and Sarah Schoen. This work was supported by Grants from the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation. T.T. received funding from the Wallace Research Foundation, the Seaver Foundation and the Autism Science Foundation during the period of this work. A.K. received research support from the NIH, the Autism Science Foundation, the Seaver Foundation, Seaside Therapeutics, and Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals.

Author Contributions

TT designed the study, analyzed the data, wrote the initial draft of the paper, and participated in revising the manuscript and addressing the reviewers’ comments. KB, AK and JDB helped with designing the study. TT, KB, PS, ATW, DH, MG, DG and AK helped with testing and data acquisition. All authors assisted with manuscript development and participated in revising the manuscript and addressing the reviewers’ comments.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

References

  1. Ahn, R. R., Miller, L. J., Milberger, S., & McIntosh, D. N. (2004). Prevalence of parents’ perceptions of sensory processing disorders among kindergarten children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 58(3), 287–293. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=15202626.
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  3. Auyeung, B., Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., & Allison, C. (2008). The autism spectrum quotient: Children’s version (AQ-Child). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(7), 1230–1240. doi: 10.1007/s10803-007-0504-z.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ayres, A. J. (1989). Sensory integration and praxis test (SIPT). Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  5. Ayres, A. J., & Tickle, L. S. (1980). Hyper-responsivity to touch and vestibular stimuli as a predictor of positive response to sensory integration procedures by autistic children. Am J Occup Ther, 34(6), 375–381. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=6971048.
  6. Baranek, G. T., & Berkson, G. (1994). Tactile defensiveness in children with developmental disabilities: Responsiveness and habituation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24(4), 457–471. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=7961330.
  7. Baranek, G. T., Boyd, B. A., Poe, M. D., David, F. J., & Watson, L. R. (2007). Hyperresponsive sensory patterns in young children with autism, developmental delay, and typical development. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 112(4), 233–245. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=17559291.
  8. 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 Child Psychology Psychiatry, 47(6), 591–601. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=16712636.
  9. Baranek, G. T., Foster, L. G., & Berkson, G. (1997). Tactile defensiveness and stereotyped behaviors. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51(2), 91–95. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=9124275.
  10. Baron-Cohen, S., Hoekstra, R. A., Knickmeyer, R., & Wheelwright, S. (2006). The autism-spectrum quotient (AQ)-adolescent version. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 36, 343-350. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=16552625.
  11. Bastiaansen, J. A., Meffert, H., Hein, S., Huizinga, P., Ketelaars, C., Pijnenborg, M., & de Bildt, A. (2011). Diagnosing autism spectrum disorders in adults: The use of Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) module 4. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(9), 1256–1266. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1157-x.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ben-Sasson, A., Cermak, S. A., Orsmond, G. I., Tager-Flusberg, H., Carter, A. S., Kadlec, M. B., & Dunn, W. (2007). Extreme sensory modulation behaviors in toddlers with autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(5), 584–592. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=17944296.
  13. Boyd, B. A., Baranek, G., Sideris, J. T., Poe, M. D., Watson, L. R., Patten, E., & Miller, H. (2010). Sensory features and repetitive behaviors in children with autism and developmental delays. Autism Research, 3, 78–87.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Boyd, B. A., McBee, M., Holtzclaw, T., Baranek, G. T., & Bodfish, J. W. (2009). Relationships among repetitive behaviors, sensory features, and executive functions in high functioning autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(4), 959–966. doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2009.05.003.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brown, C., Tollefson, N., Dunn, W., Cromwell, R., & Filion, D. (2001). The adult sensory profile: Measuring patterns of sensory processing. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(1), 75–82. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=11216370.
  16. Cheung, P. P., & Siu, A. M. (2009). A comparison of patterns of sensory processing in children with and without developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 30(6), 1468–1480. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2009.07.009.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crane, L., Goddard, L., & Pring, L. (2009). Sensory processing in adults with autism spectrum disorders. Autism, 13(3), 215–228. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=19369385.
  18. Dunn, W. (1999). The sensory profile manual. San Antonio: The Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
  19. Dunn, W., Myles, B. S., & Orr, S. (2002). Sensory processing issues associated with Asperger syndrome: A preliminary investigation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56(1), 97–102. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=11833406.
  20. Eeles, A. L., Spittle, A. J., Anderson, P. J., Brown, N., Lee, K. J., Boyd, R. N., & Doyle, L. W. (2013). Assessments of sensory processing in infants: A systematic review. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 55(4), 314–326. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2012.04434.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goldsmith, H. H., Van Hulle, C. A., Arneson, C. L., Schreiber, J. E., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (2006). A population-based twin study of parentally reported tactile and auditory defensiveness in young children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 34(3), 393–407. doi: 10.1007/s10802-006-9024-0.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hilton, C. L., Harper, J. D., Kueker, R. H., Lang, A. R., Abbacchi, A. M., Todorov, A., & LaVesser, P. D. (2010). Sensory responsiveness as a predictor of social severity in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(8), 937–945. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-0944-8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hoekstra, R. A., Bartels, M., Cath, D. C., & Boomsma, D. I. (2008). Factor structure, reliability and criterion validity of the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ): A study in Dutch population and patient groups. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 38(8), 1555–1566.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hoyle, R. H., Harris, M. J., & Judd, C. M. (2001). Research methods in social relations (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  25. Kern, J. K., Garver, C., Carmody, T., Andrews, A., Trivedi, J. K., & Mehta, J. A. (2007a). Examining sensory modulation in individuals with autism as compared to community controls. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 2(1), 85–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kern, J. K., Trivedi, M. H., Garver, C. R., Grannemann, B. D., Andrews, A. A., Savla, J. S., et al. (2006). The pattern of sensory processing abnormalities in autism. Autism, 10(5), 480–494. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=16940314.
  27. Kern, J. K., Trivedi, M. H., Grannemann, B. D., Garver, C. R., Johnson, D. G., Andrews, A. A., et al. (2007). Sensory correlations in autism. Autism, 11(2), 123–134. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=17353213.
  28. Kientz, M. A., & Dunn, W. (1997). A comparison of the performance of children with and without autism on the Sensory Profile. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51(7), 530–537. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=9242859.
  29. Lai, M., Lombardo, M., Pasco, G., Ruigrok, A., Wheelwright, S., Sadek, S., et al. (2011). A behavioral comparison of male and female adults with high functioning autism spectrum conditions. PLoS One, 6(6), e20835. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020835.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lane, A. E., Dennis, S. J., & Geraghty, M. E. (2011). Brief report: Further evidence of sensory subtypes in autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(6), 826–831. doi: 10.1007/s10803-010-1103-y.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Leekam, S. R., Nieto, C., Libby, S. J., Wing, L., & Gould, J. (2007). Describing the sensory abnormalities of children and adults with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(5), 894–910. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=17016677.
  32. Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P. S., Risi, S., Gotham, K., & Bishop, D. (2012). Autism diagnostic observation schedule, second edition (ADOS-2) mannual (Part I): Modules 1–4. Torrance, CA: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  33. Lord, C., Rutter, M., & Le Couteur, A. (1994). Autism diagnostic interview-revised: A revised version of a diagnostic interview for caregivers of individuals with possible pervasive developmental disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 24(5), 659–685. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7814313.
  34. Miller, L. J., Nielsen, D. M., Schoen, S. A., & Brett-Green, B. A. (2009). Perspectives on sensory processing disorder: A call for translational research. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 3, 22. doi: 10.3389/neuro.07.022.2009.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mottron, L., Dawson, M., Soulieres, I., Hubert, B., & Burack, J. (2006). Enhanced perceptual functioning in autism: An update, and eight principles of autistic perception. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 36(1), 27–43. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=16453071.
  36. Patten, E., Ausderau, K. K., Watson, L. R., & Baranek, G. T. (2013). Sensory response patterns in nonverbal children with ASD. Autism Research and Treatment, 2013, 436286. doi: 10.1155/2013/436286.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pfeiffer, B., Kinnealey, M., Reed, C., & Herzberg, G. (2005). Sensory modulation and affective disorders in children and adolescents with Asperger’s disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59(3), 335–345. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15969281.
  38. Rust, J., & Golomok, S. (1999). Modern psychometrics: The science of psychological assessment (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. Schoen, S., Miller, L. J., & Green, K. E. (2008). Pilot study of the Sensory Over-Responsivity Scales: Assessment and inventory. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(4), 393–406. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=18712002.
  40. Schoen, S. A., Miller, L. J., & Sullivan, J. C. (2014). Measurement in sensory modulatin: The sensory processing scale assessment. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(5), 522–530.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tomchek, S. D., & Dunn, W. (2007). Sensory processing in children with and without autism: A comparative study using the short sensory profile. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61(2), 190–200. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=17436841.
  42. Watling, R. L., Deitz, J., & White, O. (2001). Comparison of Sensory Profile scores of young children with and without autism spectrum disorders. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55(4), 416–423. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=11723986.
  43. Wechsler, D. (1999). Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence. San Antonio, TX: The PsychologicalCorporation.Google Scholar
  44. Wiggins, L. D., Robins, D. L., Bakeman, R., & Adamson, L. B. (2009). Brief report: Sensory abnormalities as distinguishing symptoms of autism spectrum disorders in young children. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 39(7), 1087–1091. doi: 10.1007/s10803-009-0711-x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Tavassoli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katherine Bellesheim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paige M. Siper
    • 1
  • A. Ting Wang
    • 1
    • 4
  • Danielle Halpern
    • 1
  • Michelle Gorenstein
    • 1
  • David Grodberg
    • 1
  • Alexander Kolevzon
    • 1
    • 5
  • Joseph D. Buxbaum
    • 3
  1. 1.Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment, Department of PsychiatryIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment, Departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Genetics and Genomic Sciences, The Friedman Brain Institute, The Mindich Child Health and Development InstituteIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Neuroscience and the Friedman Brain InstituteIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pediatrics and the Mindich Child Health and Development InstituteIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations