Comparative study of sensory modulation vulnerabilities in children with and without ASD in family and school contexts

María Inmaculada Fernández-Andrés, Pilar Sanz-Cerverza, Carolina Salgado-Burgos, Raúl Tárraga-Mínguez, Gemma Pastor-Cerezuela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may present sensory processing alterations that are specific to each environment in which they develop, inevitably impacting their daily functioning. Method: The aim of this study is to compare the different types of sensory modulation vulnerabilities (over-responsiveness, under-responsiveness, and sensory-seeking behavior) in different sensory modalities, between a group of children with ASD (n = 41) and a group of children with typical development (n = 38), in both the home and school environments. The sensory processing measure (SPM) was used to evaluate the children’s sensory profile. Results: The ASD group obtained scores that indicate higher levels of dysfunction on all the assessed measures in both environments, with greater differences obtained in the school environment. Under-responsiveness was the sensory response that showed differences in all the sensory modalities and in both environments, whereas for over-responsiveness and sensory-seeking behavior, no differences were found for some of the sensory modalities in the home environment. Conclusions: Under-responsiveness could be the most prominent and exclusive sensory symptom of children with ASD, with the school being the environment where sensory differences seem to be noted to a greater extent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-328
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2018


  • Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • over-responsiveness
  • sensory processing
  • sensory-seeking behavior
  • under-responsiveness


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