Differential Associations Between Sensory Response Patterns and Language, Social, and Communication Measures in Children With Autism or Other Developmental Disabilities

Journal Article

Purpose To examine patterns of sensory responsiveness (i.e., hyperresponsiveness, hyporesponsiveness, and sensory seeking) as factors that may account for variability in social-communicative symptoms of autism and variability in language, social, and communication skill development in children with autism or other developmental disabilities (DDs). Method Children with autistic disorder (AD; n = 72, mean age = 52.3 months) and other DDs ( n = 44, mean age = 48.1 months) participated in a protocol measuring sensory response patterns; social-communicative symptoms of autism; and language, social, and communication skills. Results Hyporesponsiveness was positively associated with social-communicative symptom severity, with no significant group difference in the association. Hyperresponsiveness was not significantly associated with social-communicative symptom severity. A group difference emerged for sensory seeking and social-communicative symptom severity, with a positive association for the AD group only. For the 2 groups of children combined, hyporesponsiveness was negatively associated with language skills and social adaptive skills. Sensory seeking also was negatively associated with language skills. These associations did not differ between the 2 groups. Conclusions Aberrant sensory processing may play an important role in the pathogenesis of autism and other DDs as well as in the rate of acquisition of language, social, and communication skills.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Watson, LR; Patten, E; Baranek, GT; Poe, M; Boyd, BA; Freuler, A; Lorenzi, J

Published Date

  • December 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1562 - 1576

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-9102

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1092-4388

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0029)


  • en