Sensory subtypes and anxiety in older children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder Academic Article uri icon


  • This study aimed to identify sensory subtypes in older children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and examine the relationship of sensory subtypes with anxiety levels in this group. Mothers of 57 children and adolescents with ASD aged 11-17 years (Mean age = 14 years. 2.4 months, SD = 1.81) completed the short sensory profile and Spence anxiety scales. Model-based cluster analysis was applied to sensory profile scores to identify sensory subtypes. Three sensory subtypes, sensory adaptive (N = 19), sensory moderate (N = 29) and sensory severe (N = 9) were identified. The results indicated that the differences between the subtypes were well characterised by the severity of sensory symptoms and were not attributable to sensory modality or varying types of sensory-related behaviors. Children and adolescents from the adaptive subtype had significantly lower anxiety scores when compared with other two subtypes. There were no differences between subtypes based on chronological age, expressive language, or severity of autism diagnostic features as measured by the social communication questionnaire (SCQ total score). This is the first study to identify the existence of sensory subtypes among older children and adolescents with ASD and explore their association with anxiety levels. Autism Res 2016, 9: 1073-1078. © 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

publication date

  • 2016