Date of Award/Publication

Spring 5-2-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

MS in Special Education



First Supervisor

Susan Schultz


The growing population of children diagnosed with autism has led to an increasing interest in the sensory processing difficulties experienced by this population. This study examined specific patterns of sensory processing deficits within seven sensory domains. The study involved five children with an autism diagnosis aged 10-12 years. Short Sensory Profiles were completed by each children’s special education teacher, two paraprofessionals, and one parent. Data was collected from four profiles per student for a total of 20 surveys. These surveys revealed probable to definite differences between children with autism and their atypical peers in every sensory domain except Movement Sensitivity. The sensory domain that has been more closely linked to academic performance is Auditory Filtering. Auditory Filtering was found to be the sensory domain with the second greatest deficit when compared to the group percentages and remained in the top three when comparing student’s individual sensory deficits. Throughout this study I sought to determine which sensory domains these children have difficulty with and the types of atypical behaviors that are associated with sensory sensitivity. This paper will discuss current brain-based research in children with ASD, sensory processing and the educational outcomes these deficits have, the use of multi-sensory learning strategies, specific sensory teaching, early intervention, and environmental modifications to provide an ideal learning environment for students with autism. This study indicates that while there is still so much we don’t know about this neurodevelopmental disorder, we can begin to try and understand how the world is perceived in the eyes of a child with autism. By examining the specific patterns of sensory processing and the atypical behaviors that students with autism exhibit in order to cope with the multisensory world around them, we can provide strategies to not only members of the educational field, but strategies to the students themselves so that they can make sense of the constant multisensory stimulation that surrounds them.

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