Sensory behaviors in minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder: How and when do caregivers respond?

Clare Harrop, Nicole Tu, Rebecca Landa, Ann Kasier, Connie Kasari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sensory behaviors are widely reported in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, the impact of these behaviors on families remains largely unknown. This study explored how caregivers of minimally verbal children with ASD responded to their child’s sensory behaviors. Using a mixed-methods approach, we examined two variables for each endorsed child behavior: (1) Did the caregiver respond/try to change the behavior? and (2) What response did they employ? Caregivers did not differ in the frequency of responses to hypo- or hyper-responsive behaviors but employed different responses. Caregivers responded to more social sensory behaviors and predominately changed their own behavior in response to their child’s. Our findings demonstrate how extensively caregivers adapt to their child’s behaviors and vary their response dependent on behavior exhibited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • Autism
  • Caregivers
  • Language
  • Sensory behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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