Sunday, January 6, 2008

Comparing AS and HFA Sensory

Here is a thought provoking article that compares the sensory status of children with Asperger syndrome (AS) with those with high functioning autism (HFA) using the Sensory Profile.

Article 1: Auditory & Attention; Tactile and Motor Planning

Myles, B.S., Hagiwara, T., Dunn, W., Rinner, L., Reese, M., Huggins, A., & Becker, S. (2004). Sensory issues in children with Asperger syndrome and autism. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 39, 283-290.


A comparison of Sensory Profile assessments on 76 children ages 6 y 9 m to 16 y 8 m. Half were diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, the other half with autism. There were no restrictions to the study based on intellectual capabilities. The purpose was to discover sensory differences between the 2 groups. Statistical significance was found in the areas of auditory processing, tactile processing, "modulation of sensory input affecting emotional responses and activity level" and emotional/social responses. Children with AS were more severely impacted than children with autism in all of the above areas.

The authors conclude

1. Higher rate of social/emotional behavior for children with AS may be due to greater capacity for language. They are attempting to interact and are doing a poor job.

2. The poor auditory processing skills are associated with decreased attention levels. Children with AS may hear just portions of verbal information and this create a confused message which they then try to make sense of. The authors go on to posit that this may lead to rigidity in behaviors because the children latch onto the portion of the message that they heard.

3. Children receive inaccurate tactile information causing a distortion in their body perception which in turn causes poor motor planning. The authors explain that this may thus explain poor coordination in children with AS.

My Thoughts

A previous article () classified children with autism into 4 catagories. Children with high functioning autism (HFA) do not have communication problems. This would suggest that they need to be separated into a third group for this study to make sense. Another article (hmm, have to find that one...) I read found that children with AS and HFA have similar sensory issues -- and yet there truly are differences ... I for one, want to know more.

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