Article

Sensory features and repetitive behaviors in children with autism and developmental delays

Division of Occupational Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA.
Autism Research (Impact Factor: 4.53). 01/2010; 3(2):78-87. DOI: 10.1002/aur.124
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study combined parent and observational measures to examine the association between aberrant sensory features and restricted, repetitive behaviors in children with autism (N=67) and those with developmental delays (N=42). Confirmatory factor analysis was used to empirically validate three sensory constructs of interest: hyperresponsiveness, hyporesponsiveness, and sensory seeking. Examining the association between the three derived sensory factor scores and scores on the Repetitive Behavior Scales--Revised revealed the co-occurrence of these behaviors in both clinical groups. Specifically, high levels of hyperresponsive behaviors predicted high levels of repetitive behaviors, and the relationship between these variables remained the same controlling for mental age. We primarily found non-significant associations between hyporesponsiveness or sensory seeking and repetitive behaviors, with the exception that sensory seeking was associated with ritualistic/sameness behaviors. These findings suggest that shared neurobiological mechanisms may underlie hyperresponsive sensory symptoms and repetitive behaviors and have implications for diagnostic classification as well as intervention.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
137 Views
  • Source
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Several lines of evidence implicate dysfunction of the serotonin (5-HT) system in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Specifically, the serotonin transporter (5-HTT, SERT) has been scrutinized as an ASD candidate risk gene. SERT plays key roles in the development of circuits that underlie sensory function, particularly in the somatosensory system. One previous study in ASD found association of a rare, hyperfunctional SERT variant with sensory aversion, but studies of common SERT variants have never examined sensory symptoms in ASD. Using standardized caregiver assessments of sensory function in children, we evaluated patterns of sensory responsiveness in 47 children with ASD and 38 typically developing (TD) children. Study participants were genotyped for the functional SERT promoter polymorphisms, 5-HTTLPR and rs25531, to test the hypothesis that the higher expressing genotypes would be associated with hyperresponsiveness to touch, a common sensory aversion in ASD. All measures of sensory hypo- and hyperresponsiveness were increased in children with ASD, with hyporesponsive sensory patterns negatively correlated to age and hyperresponsive sensory patterns positively correlated to repetitive behavior. Strikingly, high-expressing SERT genotypes were associated with increased tactile hyperresponsiveness in the ASD group. Our findings indicate genetic variation that increases SERT function may specifically impact somatosensory processing in ASD.
    Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 11/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.rasd.2014.11.008 · 2.96 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sensory difficulties are a commonly occurring feature of autism spectrum disorders and are now included as one manifestation of the 'restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities' diagnostic criteria of the DSM5 necessitating guidelines for comprehensive assessment of these features. To facilitate the development of such guidelines, this paper provides an overview of the literature on sensory features in autism spectrum disorder. We summarize the literature pertaining to: terminology, current assessment practices, sensory development, and the relationship of sensory features to core symptoms of autism. The paper concludes with recommendations for clinical assessment of sensory features in Autism.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2299-z · 3.34 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
43 Downloads
Available from
May 16, 2014