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Autobiographical Accounts of Sensing in Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research centre, Örebro, Sweden.
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research centre, Örebro, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2157-8579
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. Psychiatric Research centre, Örebro, Sweden.
2012 (English)In: Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, ISSN 0883-9417, E-ISSN 1532-8228, Vol. 26, no 5, 420-429 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Sensory experiences in Asperger syndrome (AS) or high-functioning autism (HFA) were explored by qualitative content analysis of autobiographical texts by persons with AS/HFA. Predetermined categories of hyper- and hyposensitivity were applied to texts. Hypersensitivity consists of strong reactions and heightened apprehension in reaction to external stimuli, sometimes together with overfocused or unselective attention. It was common in vision, hearing, and touch. In contrast, hyposensitivity was frequent in reaction to internal and body stimuli such as interoception, proprioception, and pain. It consists of less registration, discrimination, and recognition of stimuli as well as cravings for specific stimuli. Awareness of the strong impact of sensitivity is essential for creating good environments and encounters in the context of psychiatric and other health care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier, 2012. Vol. 26, no 5, 420-429 p.
National Category
Family Medicine
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-49474DOI: 10.1016/j.apnu.2011.10.003ISI: 000309437700011PubMedID: 22999038Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84866446577OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-49474DiVA: diva2:915219
Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-24 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically 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. 85 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Medicine, ISSN 1652-4063 ; 139
Keyword
Autism spectrum, sensory, perception, qualitative research, scale development, scale validation, sensory clusters
National Category
Family Medicine
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: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved

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