Comparison of Sensory Profile scores of young children with and without autism spectrum disorders

Am J Occup Ther. 2001 Jul-Aug;55(4):416-23. doi: 10.5014/ajot.55.4.416.


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to describe the sensory-based behaviors of young children with autism as reported by their parents on the Sensory Profile. Factor scores of children with autism were compared with those of children without autism.

Method: The Sensory Profile questionnaire was completed by parents of 40 children with autism 3 through 6 years of age and parents of 40 children without autism 3 through 6 years of age.

Results: The performance of children with autism was significantly different from that of children without autism on 8 of 10 factors. Factors where differences were found included Sensory Seeking, Emotionally Reactive, Low Endurance/Tone, Oral Sensitivity, Inattention/Distractibility, Poor Registration, Fine Motor/Perceptual, and Other.

Conclusion: Findings from the study suggest that young children with autism have deficits in a variety of sensory processing abilities as measured by the Sensory Profile. Further research is needed to replicate these findings, to examine the possibility of subgroups on the basis of sensory processing, and to contrast the sensory processing abilities of children with other disabilities to those of children with autism.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / complications*
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / rehabilitation
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Sensation Disorders / etiology*
  • Sensation Disorders / rehabilitation