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Too much or too little: hyper- and hypo-reactivity in high-functioning autism spectrum conditions
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research Centre, Region Örebro County, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden.
Department of Psychogeriatrics, Blekinge Hospital, Karlskrona, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research Centre, Region Örebro County, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden.
Psychiatric Research Centre, Region Örebro County, Örebro University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability, ISSN 1366-8250, E-ISSN 1469-9532, Vol. 38, no 3, p. 232-241Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Sensory reactivity in people with autism spectrum conditions (ASC) has been found to differ in comparison to reactivity in people without ASC. In this study sensory experiences of high-functioning individuals with ASC were explored and described.

Method: Interview data from 15 participants with a diagnosis of ASC were analysed by content analysis.

Results: Seven aspects of sensory experiences were identified: Being hyper- and hypo-reactive, reacting to general overload, having strong stimuli preferences, managing attentiveness to stimuli, managing sensory/motor stimuli, and dealing with consequences of sensory reactions in daily life.

Conclusions: The categorisation of sensory reactivity in this study can guide clinicians on how to pose questions about sensory issues to individuals with ASC. The assessment of spectrum-specific sensory experiences in high-functioning ASC and their association with other social and nonsocial features of ASC are goals for further research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2013. Vol. 38, no 3, p. 232-241
Keywords [en]
Autism spectrum disorder, sensory reactivity, qualitative research
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
Occupational therapy; Caring sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-30899DOI: 10.3109/13668250.2013.815694ISI: 000323729700005PubMedID: 23984882Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84883442689OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-30899DiVA, id: diva2:651499
Available from: 2013-09-26 Created: 2013-09-20 Last updated: 2018-05-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Description and measurement of sensory symptoms in autism spectrum
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Description and measurement of sensory symptoms in autism spectrum
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Unusual responses to sensory stimuli have been reported in nearly all children with autism spectrum conditions (ASC). A few studies on adults indicate that the sensory and perceptual problems persist into adulthood. Sensory symptoms have not been included in the diagnostic criteria for ASC but in the new diagnostic manual (DSM-5, 2013) hyper- or hyporeactivity or unusual sensory interests were included in the diagnostic criteria for ASC. Sensory phenomena are mostly investigated in studies involving children and the scales used to measure sensory reactivity have been constructed on the basis of the scientific literature and parents’ reports. The experiences of adults with ASC are not well understood and have not been systematically used to develop measures.

The overall aim of the thesis was to capture the first-hand experiences of and perspectives on sensory reactivity and translate them into a self-rating scale. To fulfil this overarching aim the personal sensory experiences of adults with ASC were investigated and the variations and range of atypical sensory phenomena explored and described in two qualitative studies (study I and II). The analyses of the firstperson descriptions enabled the development of items for a scale. These were reduced in steps and the final scale which was named the Sensory Reactivity in Autism Spectrum scale (SR-AS) comprised 32 items in four subscales: high awareness/ hyperreactivity, low awareness/hyporeactivity, strong sensory interests and sensory/motor. The SR-AS was validated using content and factor analyses. Its discriminative validity was then investigated as well as its reliability in the form of internal consistency (study III). In the final step the scale was used to identify clusters of atypical sensory functioning in adults with ASC by hierarchical cluster analysis (study IV). Three different sensory clusters were found.

The main contribution of this thesis is its presentation of individual experience and perspectives and the creation of an clinical tool to measure atypical sensory reactivity frequently experienced by people with ASC. The ways in which the SR-AS can be used comprise assessment of individual sensory patterns for self-knowledge and awareness, to enable the development of coping strategies and to provide information on environmental adjustments required. In diagnostic processes where other criteria for ASC are fulfilled the SR-AS can be used for assessing sensory symptoms according to the DSM-5.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2016. p. 85
Series
Örebro Studies in Medicine, ISSN 1652-4063 ; 139
Keywords
Autism spectrum, sensory, perception, qualitative research, scale development, scale validation, sensory clusters
National Category
General Practice
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-48130 (URN)978-91-7529-129-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-22, Universitetssjukhuset, hörsal C3, Södra Grev Rosengatan, Örebro, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-09 Created: 2016-02-09 Last updated: 2018-01-10Bibliographically approved

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Elwin, MarieKjellin, Lars

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