Objectives. The purpose of this study was to determine which factors on the Sensory Profile, a measure of children’s responses to commonly occurring sensory experiences, best discriminate among children with autism or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and children without disabilities.
Method. Data for three groups of children 3 to 15 years of age were used: 38 children with autism or PDD, 61 with ADHD, and 1,075 without disabilities. The researchers conducted a discriminate analysis on the three groups, using group membership as the dependent variable and the nine factors of the Sensory Profile as independent variables.
Results. The analysis yielded two discriminant functions: one that differentiated children with disabilities from children without disabilities and another that differentiated the two groups of children with disabilities from each other. Nearly 90% of the cases were correctly classified with these two functions.
Conclusion. The Sensory Profile is useful for discriminating certain groups of children with disabilities. Children with disabilities are accurately classified into disability categories with the factors described by previous authors. This suggests that patterns of behavior associated with certain developmental disorders are reflected in populations of children without disabilities. It may be the frequency or intensity of certain behaviors that differentiate the groups.