Exploring the Sensory Profiles of Children on the Autism Spectrum Using the Short Sensory Profile-2 (SSP-2)

  • Kate SimpsonEmail author
  • Dawn Adams
  • Clair Alston-Knox
  • Helen S. Heussler
  • Deb Keen
Original Paper


The aim of this study was to identify sensory subtypes in children on the autism spectrum using the Short Sensory Profile-2 (SSP-2). Caregivers of children on the autism spectrum aged 4–11 years (n = 271) completed the SSP-2. Analysis using Dirichlet process mixture model identified a two-cluster model which provided the best solution to subtype sensory responses. Two distinct subtypes were identified: Uniformly elevated (67%) with high scores across all quadrants and Raised avoiding and sensitivity (33%) with raised scores in the avoiding and sensitivity quadrants. There were no differences between subtypes based on chronological age and autism characteristics measured using the social communication questionnaire (total score). Based on the SSP-2, children were reported to experience differences in responses to sensory input, in particular in the area of sensitivity and avoiding.


Children Autism Sensory Subtypes 



The authors acknowledge the work of the LASA team members: Susan Bruck, Trevor Clark, Sandra Devaraj, Robyn Garland, Antoinette Hodge, Patricia Howlin, Jessica Paynter, Natalie Silove, David Trembath, Madonna Tucker, Marleen Westerveld, Katrina Williams. The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.

Author contributions

KS conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; DA participated in the design and interpretation of the data and helped to draft the manuscript; CA participated in the design, performed the statistical analysis and participated in the interpretation of the data; HH participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. DK participated in the conception of the study, the design and coordination of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autism Centre of Excellence, School of Education and Professional StudiesGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC)BrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Griffith Social and Behavioural Research CollegeGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Mater Research InstituteUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.Children’s Health Research CentreUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  6. 6.Child Development Program Children’s Health QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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