Somatosensory Temporal Discrimination in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Buyuktaskin D., Iseri E., Guney E., GÜNENDİ Z., CENGİZ B.

AUTISM RESEARCH, vol.14, no.4, pp.656-667, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/aur.2479
  • Journal Name: AUTISM RESEARCH
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.656-667
  • Keywords: autism spectrum disorders, neurophysiology, sensory processing, sensory profile, somatosensory temporal discrimination (STD), TACTILE SENSITIVITY, SENSORY FEATURES, DIFFICULTIES QUESTIONNAIRE, CHILDHOOD AUTISM, TURKISH VERSION, YOUNG-CHILDREN, ADULTS, ATTENTION, RELIABILITY, DYSFUNCTION
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


Sensory differences are common in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While there is no well-accepted method to measure sensory differences objectively, there is accumulating evidence from recent years concerning sensory perception, including data concerning temporal discrimination thresholds of individuals with ASD as measured by different measures. The somatosensory temporal discrimination (STD) test measures the threshold at which an individual can temporally discriminate multiple tactile stimuli delivered in succession. We aimed to investigate tactile perception in ASD and hypothesized that children with ASD have impaired STD related to their subjective sensory symptoms and daily difficulties. Thirty adolescents with ASD and 30 typically developed subjects were recruited. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile were implemented before STD evaluation. Average somatosensory detection (1.48 +/- 0.42) and discrimination thresholds (112.70 +/- 43.45) of the children with ASD were significantly higher (P = 0.010, P = 0.001, respectively) than those of the controls (1.18 +/- 0.42, 79.95 +/- 31.60, respectively). Sensory seeking scores of the ASD group (40.8 +/- 7.60) were significantly lower (P = 0.024) than those of the control group (45.83 +/- 9.17). However, the psychophsycal thresholds did not have any statistically significant relationships with subjective sensory symptoms or daily difficulties. This study demonstrates impaired sensory processing in ASD evaluated by STD and its lack of relationship with subjective sensory symptoms and daily difficulties. This psychophysical evidence of increased STD thresholds and decreased sensory seeking profile supports the disturbances in the regulation of sensory processing in ASD.