Free
Research Article  |   March 2007
Sensory Processing in Children With and Without Autism: A Comparative Study Using the Short Sensory Profile
Author Affiliations
  • Scott D. Tomchek, PhD, OTR/L, is Manager of Developmental Services, Chief of Occupational Therapy, and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center, University of Louisville (HSC), School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, 571 South Floyd Street, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40202
  • Winnie Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, School of Allied Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Sensory Integration and Processing / Conceptualizing and Identifying Sensory Processing Issues
Research Article   |   March 2007
Sensory Processing in Children With and Without Autism: A Comparative Study Using the Short Sensory Profile
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2007, Vol. 61, 190-200. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.2.190
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2007, Vol. 61, 190-200. doi:10.5014/ajot.61.2.190
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to investigate differences in sensory processing among age-matched children between ages 3 and 6 years with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and those who are typically developing.

METHOD. Reported sensory processing abilities of 281 children with ASD were compared to age-matched peers who were typically developing, using the Short Sensory Profile (SSP).

RESULTS. Ninety-five percent of the sample of children with ASD demonstrated some degree of sensory processing dysfunction on the SSP Total Score, with the greatest differences reported on the Underresponsive/ Seeks Sensation, Auditory Filtering, and Tactile Sensitivity sections. The ASD group also performed significantly differently (p < .001) on 92% of the items, total score, and all sections of the SSP.

CONCLUSION. These findings, considered with similar published studies, begin to confirm the prevalence and types of sensory processing impairments in autism. Further research is needed to more clearly define patterns of sensory processing in people with ASD.