OBJECTIVE. We explored the associations between sensory processing and classroom emotional, behavioral, and educational outcomes of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
METHOD. Twenty-eight children with ASD (with average-range IQ) were compared with 51 age- and gender-matched typically developing peers on sensory processing and educational outcomes.
RESULTS. For children with ASD, the Short Sensory Profile scores Underresponsive/Seeks Sensation and Auditory Filtering explained 47% of the variance in academic performance, yet estimated intelligence was not a significant predictor of academic performance. Significant negative correlations were found between (1) auditory filtering and inattention to cognitive tasks, (2) tactile hypersensitivity and hyperactivity and inattention, and (3) movement sensitivity and oppositional behavior.
CONCLUSION. A pattern of auditory filtering difficulties, sensory underresponsiveness, and sensory seeking was associated with academic underachievement in the children with ASD. Children who have difficulty processing verbal instructions in noisy environments and who often focus on sensory-seeking behaviors appear more likely to underachieve academically.