A meta-analysis of sensory modulation symptoms in individuals with autism spectrum disorders

J Autism Dev Disord. 2009 Jan;39(1):1-11. doi: 10.1007/s10803-008-0593-3. Epub 2008 May 30.


Sensory modulation symptoms are common in persons with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however have a heterogeneous presentation. Results from 14 studies indicated a significant high difference between ASD and typical groups in the presence/frequency of sensory symptoms, with the greatest difference in under-responsivity, followed by over-responsivity and sensation seeking. Three moderators that reduced the variability in findings among studies were: chronological age, severity of autism, and type of control group. Sensory differences were highest for studies of children ages 6-9 years, samples with more than 80% with an autism diagnosis, and compared to a CA matched versus a MA or DD matched group. It is important to consider these moderators in the design of studies and interventions addressing sensory symptoms.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Perceptual Distortion
  • Sensation Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Sensation Disorders / epidemiology
  • Sensation Disorders / psychology
  • Somatosensory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatosensory Disorders / epidemiology
  • Somatosensory Disorders / psychology
  • Stereotyped Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires