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Research Article  |   September 2008
Sensory Processing and Classroom Emotional, Behavioral, and Educational Outcomes in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
Author Affiliations
  • Jill Ashburner, BOccThy, PhD, is Principal Research and Development Officer, Autism Queensland, PO Box 354, Sunnybank, Queensland, Australia 4109; jilla@autismqld.com.au
  • Jenny Ziviani, BAppSc (OT), BA, MEd, PhD, is Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, The University of Queensland, Australia
  • Sylvia Rodger, BOccThy, MEdSt, PhD, is Associate Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, The University of Queensland, Australia
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / School-Based Practice / Sensory Integration and Processing / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   September 2008
Sensory Processing and Classroom Emotional, Behavioral, and Educational Outcomes in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2008, Vol. 62, 564-573. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.5.564
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, September/October 2008, Vol. 62, 564-573. doi:10.5014/ajot.62.5.564
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. We explored the associations between sensory processing and classroom emotional, behavioral, and educational outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

METHOD. Twenty-eight children with ASD (with average-range IQ) were compared with 51 age- and gender-matched typically developing peers on sensory processing and educational outcomes.

RESULTS. For children with ASD, the Short Sensory Profile scores Underresponsive/Seeks Sensation and Auditory Filtering explained 47% of the variance in academic performance, yet estimated intelligence was not a significant predictor of academic performance. Significant negative correlations were found between (1) auditory filtering and inattention to cognitive tasks, (2) tactile hypersensitivity and hyperactivity and inattention, and (3) movement sensitivity and oppositional behavior.

CONCLUSION. A pattern of auditory filtering difficulties, sensory underresponsiveness, and sensory seeking was associated with academic underachievement in the children with ASD. Children who have difficulty processing verbal instructions in noisy environments and who often focus on sensory-seeking behaviors appear more likely to underachieve academically.