Sensory Phenotypes in Autism: Making a Case for the Inclusion of Sensory Integration Functions

Roseann C. Schaaf, Zoe Mailloux, Elizabeth Ridgway, Alaina S. Berruti, Rachel L. Dumont, Emily A. Jones, Benjamin E. Leiby, Catherine Sancimino, Misung Yi, Sophie Molholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sensory features are part of the diagnostic criteria for autism and include sensory hypo/hyper reactivity and unusual sensory interest; however, additional sensory differences, namely differences in sensory integration, have not been routinely explored. This study characterized sensory integration differences in a cohort of children (n = 93) with a confirmed diagnosis of autism (5–9 years) using a standardized, norm-referenced battery. Mean z scores, autism diagnostic scores, and IQ are reported. Participants showed substantial deficits in tactile perception, praxis, balance, visual perception, and visual-motor skills. Relationship with autism diagnostic test scores were weak or absent. Findings suggest additional sensory difficulties that are not typically assessed or considered when characterizing sensory features in autism. These data have implications for a greater understanding of the sensory features in the autism phenotype and the development of personalized treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Autism
  • Perception
  • Sensation
  • Symptom Assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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