Kristina G. Caron, Roseann C. Schaaf, Teal W. Benevides, Eynat Gal; Cross-Cultural Comparison of Sensory Behaviors in Children With Autism. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(5):e77–e80. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2012.004226
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Parents of children with autism frequently report that their children exhibit unusual responses to sensory experiences. Little research is available, however, describing how parents’ and children’s culture and environment might influence parents’ reports of their children’s behaviors. This study compared the frequency of parent-reported responses to sensory experiences in children from two countries—Israel and the United States. We administered the Short Sensory Profile to primary caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing peers. Results indicate that Israeli parents reported unusual responses to sensory experiences less frequently than U.S. parents for both ASD and typically developing children. U.S. children with ASD demonstrated significantly greater difficulty in the Auditory Filtering and Visual/Auditory Sensitivity domains than Israeli children with ASD. These findings indicate a need to further explore the influence of culture and environment on caregiver perceptions of the responses to sensory experiences of children with ASD.
When planning and providing intervention for children with ASD and other disabilities, therapists need to be mindful of the influence of culture on their sensory processing.
When using assessments that examine sensory processing on the basis of parent-reported responses to sensory experiences cross-culturally, therapists need to consider the impact of culture and environment when interpreting results.
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