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Altered Sensory Perception
in Individuals with Autism

Healthcare providers should be aware that persons with autistic disorders may experience alterations in the processing of sensory stimulation. Sensations of touch, hearing, smell, and taste may be perceived very differently by a person with autism than others. An individual may demonstrate a higher tolerance for pain, yet at the same time experience "light" touch or loud sounds as painful or intolerable. Avoidance of tactile sensory stimulation may be quite significant in some individuals with autism-thus it may be necessary to modify examination procedures. It is also very important for providers to consider the potential for increased pain tolerance when conducting diagnostic evaluation of persons with autistic disorder.

Huebner, R.A., and Dunn, W. (2001). Introduction and basic concepts. In Huebner, R.A., (Ed.), Autism: A sensorimotor approach to management (pp. 3-40). Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishing, Inc.

For further information on autism see:
Autism Q&A from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/autismQA.pdf