Towards standardisation of the Sensory Profile Checklist Revisited: Perceptual and Sensory Sensitivities in Autism Spectrum Conditions
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Robinson, Lee Daniel
Although sensory and perceptual symptoms have been associated with ASC from the time that autism was first defined as a diagnosis (Kanner, 1943), and despite many personal accounts from individuals with ASC themselves (Grandin, 2009; Lawson, 1998; O‟Neill, 1999; Williams, 1992), there is a long lasting debate whether sensory symptoms are a component of core ASC deficits or a co-morbid phenomenon. The current research aimed to explore the pattern of sensory and perceptual experiences in ASC using the Sensory Profile Checklist Revisted (SPCR; Bogdashina, 2003). The measure has been useful for guiding clinical intervention, but the structure, reliability and validity is yet to be analysed. The SPCR was completed by support workers based on their observations of 38 individuals with clinical diagnosis of ASC. 40 individuals from the general population also completed the measure based on their observations of someone they knew for more than 6 months. Reporting participants also completed the Autism Quotient (AQ; Baron-Cohen, 2001) and the Adult/ Adolescent Sensory Profile (ASP; Brown & Dunn, 2002). A principle components factor analysis using promax rotation was conducted for the SPCR, with 4 factors explaining 30.82% of the variance. Internal consistency was high with alphas ranging from .90 to .95. Principle axis factoring was used to analyse the factor structure of ASC traits underlying the AQ. The 3 factor solution, which explained 48.31 % of the variance, was chosen. Internal consistency was moderate to high, with alphas ranging from .56 to .92. Individuals with an ASC were found to score significantly higher on the SPCR than healthy controls (b=78.496, t(77)=4.577, p=.05). AQ scores were found to have a significant effect on SPCR scores with a single score increase in AQ scores predictive of 3.49 point increase in SPCR scores (b=3.49, t(76)=4.795, p<.05). ASP scores were found to have a significant effect on SPCR scores, with a single score increase in ASP scores predictive of 2.78 point increase in SPCR scores (b=2.78, t(36)=8.885, p<0.05). The results suggest that sensory and perceptual processing styles of individuals with ASC are significantly different to those of healthy controls. The extracted constructs differ from those originally suggested by Bogdashina (2003), however, it could be argued that wih tighter controls and a larger sample size, the extracted factors would be separated further. The high correlation between items of the SPCR and the AQ suggest that the SPCR is useful tool for evaluating the sensory and perceptual experiences of individuals with ASC. Whilst it cannot be claimed to aid diagnosis, the structure of the measure is such that it would be a useful tool for parents, carers and clinical professionals to use as a guide for intervention targeted at relieving the need to engage in sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behaviours.