Describing the sensory abnormalities of children and adults with autism

J Autism Dev Disord. 2007 May;37(5):894-910. doi: 10.1007/s10803-006-0218-7.


Patterns of sensory abnormalities in children and adults with autism were examined using the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders (DISCO). This interview elicits detailed information about responsiveness to a wide range of sensory stimuli. Study 1 showed that over 90% of children with autism had sensory abnormalities and had sensory symptoms in multiple sensory domains. Group differences between children with autism and clinical comparison children were found in the total number of symptoms and in specific domains of smell/taste and vision. Study 2 confirmed that sensory abnormalities are pervasive and multimodal and persistent across age and ability in children and adults with autism. Age and IQ level affects some sensory symptoms however. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communication Disorders / diagnosis
  • Communication Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Disorders / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Nonverbal Communication
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior