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Sensory Responsiveness as a Predictor of Social Severity in Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between sensory responsiveness and social severity in children with high functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASD; N = 36) and age-matched controls (N = 26) between 6 and 10 years old. Significant relationships were found between social responsiveness scale scores and each of the six sensory profile sensory system scores for children with HFASD and controls. Multivariate regression analyses revealed atypical scores from multisensory responsiveness, and responsiveness of the proximal senses of oral sensory/olfactory and touch as the strongest predictors of greater social impairment in the participants. Findings suggest that the relationship between sensory responsiveness and other autistic traits is more important than previously recognized and addressing sensory modulation issues in children with HFASD may be more critical than previously understood.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Jessica Reinken Johnson, MOT, OTR/L, Kate Graver, MOT, OTR/L, Lyndsay Wente, MOT, OTR/L, Mary Crouch, MOT, OTR/L, and Nicolle Drew Callier, MOT, OTR/L, for their dedicated work on data collection, and the generous families who agreed to participate in the study. They would also like to thank John Constantino, MD, for research advisement.

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Correspondence to Claudia L. Hilton.

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Hilton, C.L., Harper, J.D., Kueker, R.H. et al. Sensory Responsiveness as a Predictor of Social Severity in Children with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 40, 937–945 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0944-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-010-0944-8

Keywords

  • Sensory modulation
  • Sensory processing
  • Sensory systems