The Short Sensory Profile was used to assess parental report of sensory reactivity across four groups of young children (n = 102). Groups were autism (n = 26), fragile X syndrome (n = 20), developmental disabilities of mixed etiology (n = 32), and typically developing children (n = 24). Groups were comparable on overall mental age (x = 22 months), and clinical groups were comparable on chronological age (x = 31 months). Significant differences were detected at alpha <.01 for tactile sensitivity [F(3,99) = 10.01], taste/smell sensitivity [F(3,99) = 11.63], underreactive/seeks stimulation [F(3,99) = 4.56], auditory filtering [F(3,99) = 19.67], and low energy/weak muscles [F(3,99) = 14.21]. Both children with fragile X syndrome and children with autism had significantly more sensory symptoms overall than the two comparison groups, and children with autism did not differ significantly from children with fragile X syndrome. Both groups were more impaired than developmentally delayed and typically developing children in tactile sensitivity and auditory filtering. Children with autism were more abnormal in responses to taste and smell than all other groups. Children with fragile X syndrome were more abnormal than all other groups in low energy/weak muscles. Sensory reactivity of children with developmental delays was comparable to mental age–matched typically developing toddlers. Correlational analyses indicated that neither overall developmental level nor IQ was related to abnormal sensory reactivity in children with autism or general developmental disorders. However, abnormal sensory reactivity had a significant relationship with overall adaptive behavior.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bishop, D. V. M. (1997). Cognitive neuropsychology and developmental disorders: Uncomfortable bedfellows. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 50A, 899-923.
Cox, A., Klein, K., Charman, T., Baird, G., Baron-Cohen, S., Swettenham, J., Drew, A., Wheelwright, S., & Nightingale, N. (1999). The early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder: Use of the autism diagnostic interview-revised at 20 months and 42 months of age. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 40, 719-732.
Dahlgren, S. O., & Gillberg, C. (1989). Symptoms in the first two years of life: A preliminary population study of infantile autism. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 238, 169-174.
Dunn, W., Myles, B. S., & Orr, S. (2002). Sensory processing issues associated with Asperger syndrome: Apreliminary investigation. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 56, 97-102.
Dunn, W. (1999). Development and validation of the short sensory profile. In W. Dunn (Ed.), The sensory profile examiner's manual. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Goldstein, H. (2000). Commentary: Interventions to facilitate auditory, visual, and motor integration: “Show me the data”. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 30, 423-425.
Grandin, T., & Scariano, M. M. (1986). Emergence, labeled autistic (1st ed.). Novato, CA: Arena Press.
Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four factor index of social status. New Haven, CT: Author.
Kientz, M. A., & Dunn, W. (1997). A comparison of the performance of children with and without autism on the sensory profile. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51, 530-537.
Lord, C. (1995). Follow-up of two-year-olds referred for possible autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 1365-1382.
Lord, C., Rutter, M., DiLavore, P., & Risi, S. (1999). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-WPS Edition. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
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, 659-685.
Lord, C., Storoschuk, S., Rutter, M., & Pickles, A. (1993). Using the ADI-R to diagnose autism in preschool children. Infant Mental Health Journal, 14, 234-252.
McIntosh, D. N., Miller, L. J., & Shyu, V. (1999). Development and validation of the short sensory profile. In W. Dunn (Ed.), The sensory profile examiner's manual. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Miller, L. J., McIntosh, D. N., McGrath, J., Shyu, V., Lampe, M., Taylor, A. K., Tassone, F., Neitzel, K., Stackhouse, T., & Hagerman, R. J. (1999). Electrodermal responses to sensory stimuli in individuals with fragile X syndrome: A preliminary report. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 83, 268-279.
Miller, L. J., Reisman, J., McIntosh, D. N., & Simon, J. (2001). An ecological model of sensory modulation: performance of children with fragile X syndrome, autism, attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity and sensory modulation dysfunction. In S. Smith-Roley, E. Imperatore-Blanche, & R. C. Schaaf (Eds.), Understanding the nature of sensory integration with diverse populations. San Antonio, TX: Therapy Skill Builders.
Mullen, E. M. (1995). Mullens scales of early learning. (AGS ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
Ornitz, E. M., Guthrie, D., & Farley, A. H. (1977). The early development of autistic children. Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia, 7, 207-229.
Sparrow, S. S., Balla, D. A., & Cicchetti, D. (1984). Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
Thelen, E. (1966). Normal infant stereotypes: A dynamic systems approach. In R. L. Sprague & K. M. Newell (Eds.), Sterotyped movements: Brain and behavior relationships.Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Wing, L. (1969). The handicaps of autistic children: a comparison study. Journal of Child Psychology and Child Psychiatry, 10, 1-40.
Wing, L., & Gould, J. (1979). Severe impairments of social interaction and associated abnormalities in children: epidemiology and classification. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9, 11-29.
About this article
Cite this article
Rogers, S.J., Hepburn, S. & Wehner, E. Parent Reports of Sensory Symptoms in Toddlers with Autism and Those with Other Developmental Disorders. J Autism Dev Disord 33, 631–642 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000006000.38991.a7
- developmental delays
- parent report
- fragile X syndrome