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Title: Unusual sensory experiences in people with autism spectrum disorders
Author: Smith, Richard Stewart
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 6172
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Unusual Sensory Experiences (USEs) are a significant and common issue in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). People may be over- or under-sensitive to sensory information in any of the sensory domains. These expenences can seriously affect people's lives, causing distress and correlating with impairments in a number of areas of functioning. These experiences have received relatively little attention in research into ASDs. The first paper reviews the literature from the last ten years for treatments for USEs and their sequelae. Results indicate that risperidone and massage therapy can be validly shown to reduce the severity of the USEs and their effects in other areas of functioning. The other treatments have equivocal or inconclusive results and so require more research. In the second paper nine adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS) were interviewed about how their USEs have affected their lives. Results indicated that these experiences had powerful effects in many areas of their internal and social worlds. The experiences could be distressing often leading to escape and subsequent avoidance of certain situations. They could cause rejection from other people. These experiences could therefore often lead to the person with AS becoming extremely isolated. Other experiences could be fascinating and lead to specific sensory abilities which if nurtured could be utilised in jobs or pursuits. These results give evidence for the central role USEs can have in many areas of functioning for people with ASD. Implications for services and future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available