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Research projects

Sensory reactivity in autism spectrum conditions

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Agneta Schröder

Research subject


Unusual sensory reactivity and strong sensory interests are commonly reported in autism spectrum conditions (ASC). A pattern of hyper- and hypo-reactivity is well established in children with ASC, and the few studies involving adults suggest that this pattern prevails into adulthood. Sensory perceptual symptoms together with social interaction difficulties are the problems most likely to persist into adulthood for persons diagnosed with ASC in childhood. Hyper- or hypo-reactivity to sensory stimuli and unusual sensory interests are proposed to be diagnostic for ASC in the forthcoming DSM-5 as one out of four symptom manifestations of restricted repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.


To develop and validate a self- report instrument tailored to measure sensory reactions and associated features in high functioning ASC. The instrument is developed from the personal experiences in the target group.


Patients in outpatient and inpatient psychiatry in two counties in Sweden.


Personal experiences were studied by content analysis of autobiographical and interview accounts. Items were derived from the results of the content analyses and evaluated by professionals in the field and by persons with ASC diagnoses. The items will be further tested with multiple methods, including principal component analysis and comparison between known groups.

Marie Elwin: Doctoral student Supervisor: Lars Kjellin, associate professor, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden. Co-supervisor: Agneta Schröder, med. dr., Psychiatric Research Centre, Örebro, Sweden Co-author: Lena Ek, PhD., Department of Psychogeriatrics, Blekinge Hospital, Karlskrona, Sweden


Research funding bodies

  • Region Örebro County


  • Lars Kjellin
  • Lena Ek, Psykogeriatriska kliniken, Blekingesjukhuset, Karlskrona