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Child Care Health Dev. 2017 Jan;43(1):81-88. doi: 10.1111/cch.12391. Epub 2016 Aug 21.

Classifying sensory profiles of children in the general population.

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Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of Louisville, Weisskopf Child Evaluation Center, Louisville, KY, USA.



The aim of this study was to subtype groups of children in a community sample with and without developmental conditions, based on sensory processing patterns.


We used latent profile analysis to determine the number of sensory subtypes in a sample of n = 1132 children aged 3-14 years with typical development and developmental conditions, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and learning disabilities.


A five-subtype solution was found to best characterize the sample, which differed on overall degree and differential presentation of sensory processing patterns. Children with and without developmental conditions presented across subtypes, and one subtype was significantly younger in age than others (P < 0.05).


Our results show that sensory subtypes include both children with typical development and those with developmental conditions. Sensory subtypes have previously been investigated in ASD only, and our results suggest that similar sensory subtypes are present in a sample reflective of the general population of children including those largely with typical development. Elevated scores on sensory processing patterns are not unique to ASD but rather are reflections of children's abilities to respond to environmental demands.


ADHD; autism spectrum disorder; latent profile analysis; sensory processing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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