Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 1485–1498 | Cite as

Sensory Sensitivities and Performance on Sensory Perceptual Tasks in High-functioning Individuals with Autism

  • Nancy J. MinshewEmail author
  • Jessica A. Hobson
Original Paper


Most reports of sensory symptoms in autism are second hand or observational, and there is little evidence of a neurological basis. Sixty individuals with high-functioning autism and 61 matched typical participants were administered a sensory questionnaire and neuropsychological tests of elementary and higher cortical sensory perception. Thirty-two percent of autism participants endorsed more sensory sensitivity items than any control participants. Both groups made few errors on elementary sensory perception items. Controls made few errors on higher cortical sensory perception items, but 30% of the autism participants made high numbers of errors. These findings support the common occurrence of sensory symptoms in high functioning autism based on first person report, and the presence of neurological abnormalities in higher cortical sensory perception.


Autism Sensory sensitivities Sensory perception Sensory neglect 



We would like to thank all of the volunteers and their families for their enduring patience and for taking their time and making their best effort to complete these questionnaires and participate in this and other research studies for the benefit of all those affected by autism spectrum disorders. We also thank Kimberly Bodner for her assistance in preparation of this manuscript. We acknowledge the support of the NICHD/NIDCD Collaborative Program of Excellence funding without which this work would not have been possible (grant # HD35469).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry and NeurologyUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA
  2. 2.NICHD Collaborative Program of Excellence in AutismUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine PittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Child HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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