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Sensory reactivity, empathizing and systemizing in autism spectrum conditions and sensory processing disorder

Tavassoli, T., Miller, L., Shoen, S., Brout, J., Sullivan, J. and Baron-Cohen, S. (2018) Sensory reactivity, empathizing and systemizing in autism spectrum conditions and sensory processing disorder. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 29. pp. 72-77. ISSN 1878-9307

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.05.005

Abstract/Summary

Although the DSM-5 added sensory symptoms as a criterion for ASC, there is a group of children who display sensory symptoms but do not have ASC; children with sensory processing disorder (SPD). To be able to differentiate these two disorders, our aim was to evaluate whether children with ASC show more sensory symptomatology and/or different cognitive styles in empathy and systemizing compared to children with SPD and typically developing (TD) children. The study included 210 participants: 68 children with ASC, 79 with SPD and 63 TD children. The Sensory Processing Scale Inventory was used to measure sensory symptoms, the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) to measure autistic traits, and the Empathy Quotient (EQ) and Systemizing Quotient (SQ) to measure cognitive styles. Across groups, a greater sensory symptomatology was associated with lower empathy. Further, both the ASC and SPD groups showed more sensory symptoms than TD children. Children with ASC and SPD only differed on sensory under-reactivity. The ASD group did, however, show lower empathy and higher systemizing scores than the SPD group. Together, this suggest that sensory symptoms alone may not be adequate to differentiate children with ASC and SPD but that cognitive style measures could be used for differential diagnosis.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) Research Network
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Development
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Perception and Action
ID Code:71592
Publisher:Elsevier

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