A comparison of patterns of sensory processing in children with and without developmental disabilities

Res Dev Disabil. 2009 Nov-Dec;30(6):1468-80. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2009.07.009. Epub 2009 Aug 8.


This study compared the patterns of sensory processing among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and children without disabilities. Parents reported on the frequency of sensory processing issues by completing the Chinese Sensory Profile (CSP). Children with disabilities (ASD or ADHD) exhibited significantly more sensory processing issues than children without disabilities. The results of GLM and discriminant analyses showed that the CSP effectively differentiated between children with and without developmental disabilities. But it failed to identify major differences in sensory processing issues between children with either ASD or ADHD. Sensory processing issues could be one of many criteria that characterize and differentiate the features of children with different developmental disabilities. Although no significant gender differences in sensory processing issues appeared, age was a significant cofounding factor in evaluating sensory processing. Children without disabilities showed some small decreases in sensory processing issues as they aged from 6 to 12 years old. Children with ASD showed some decrease in sensory processing issues over the span of their childhood, while children with ADHD showed a significant increase in auditory processing issues as well as small increases in many aspects of sensory processing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Autistic Disorder / complications
  • Autistic Disorder / psychology
  • Child
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sensory Thresholds