Sensory-modulation disruption, electrodermal responses, and functional behaviors

Authors


* Correspondence to first author at Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208, USA. E-mail: dmcintos@du.edu

Abstract

It was hypothesized that children clinically identified with sensory-modulation disruptions (SMD) would have atypical physiological responses to sensation, and that such responses would predict parent-reported behavioral responses to sensation. Nineteen children with clinically identified disruptions, aged 3 to 9 years, mean 6.0 years, and 19 age-and sex-matched healthy (control) children, aged 3 to 9 years, mean 6.6 years, were examined. The subjects were presented with five stimuli. Ten trials were conducted for each stimulus and the electrodermal activity of the child was recorded. Four children with SMD did not show electrodermal responses (EDR) to stimulation; all control children responded. Excluding non-responders, children with SMD showed more and larger EDR than control children. Participants with disruptions habituated more slowly to repeated stimulation, as measured by the number of responses to stimuli and proportion of stimuli that evoked responses. Children with atypical EDR had more parent-reported abnormal behavioral responses to sensation. Children with clinically identified SMD respond physiologically differently to sensory stimuli than typically developing children; these differences have ramifications for functional behavior.

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