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15-11-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2017

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2/2017

The Relationship Between Autistic Traits and Atypical Sensory Functioning in Neurotypical and ASD Adults: A Spectrum Approach

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 2/2017
Auteur:
Jennifer L. Mayer

Abstract

Sensory processing atypicalities are a common feature in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and have previously been linked to a range of behaviours in individuals with ASD and atypical neurological development. More recently research has demonstrated a relationship between autistic traits in the neurotypical (NT) population and increased levels of atypical sensory behaviours. The aim of the present study is to extend previous research by examining specific patterns across aspects of autistic traits and sensory behaviours within both ASD and NT populations. The present study recruited 580 NT adults and 42 high-functioning ASD adults with a confirmed diagnosis to investigate the relationship between specific aspects of autistic traits and sensory processing using the subscales of the autism spectrum quotient (AQ) and adult/adolescent sensory profile (AASP). Results showed a significant relationship between all subscales except for attention to detail and imagination on the AQ and provided the first evidence that the strength and pattern of this relationship is identical between NT and ASD adults. These data also provided support for the broader autism phenotype, uncovering a clear progression of sensory atypicalities in line with an increase in autistic traits, regardless of diagnostic status, which has potential implications for the spectrum approach to ASD and how sensory behaviours across the whole of the neurotypical population are conceptualised.

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