Abstract

Importance: A dearth of information is available on the relationship between activity participation and sensory processing patterns in preschool-age children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Objective: To investigate differences in activity participation and sensory processing patterns between preschool-age children with ASD and typically developing (TD) children.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: Clinics, hospitals, early intervention centers, and preschools in Tainan, Taiwan.

Participants: Forty children with ASD and 40 TD children (ages 36–71 mo).

Outcomes and Measures: The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (2nd ed., Standard Version), Assessment of Preschool Children’s Participation, and Short Sensory Profile 2 (SSP–2).

Results: Compared with TD children, children with ASD had significantly lower scores on participation diversity in activities across areas of play, physical recreation, and social activities and higher scores in each of the four sensory quadrants. For children with ASD, participation in social activities was significantly negatively correlated with SSP–2 quadrant scores.

Conclusions and Relevance: These findings have implications for how preschool-age children with ASD typically engage in daily activities and suggest that some sensory processing patterns may be associated with participation in social activities.

What This Article Adds: Occupational therapy practitioners can facilitate activity participation for preschool-age children with ASD by using their strengths and the activities that they find interesting; practitioners should consider the role of sensory systems to promote activity participation in natural settings.

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