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Autism & Sensory Processing

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a broad range of conditions marked by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communications. It is estimated to impact 1 in 36 children in the United States currently. The abilities of people with ASD can vary significantly from person to person, and there are typically signs present before the age of 3. Sensory processing disorder can also impact those with autism but can also be a standalone diagnosis or co-occur with other diagnoses. 

Common symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder:

  • Avoids or does not keep eye contact

  • Difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication

  • Social challenges such as trouble recognizing the emotions of others or expressing emotion

  • Repetitive behaviors (ex/ repetitive body movements, staring at lights or spinning objects, lining objects up, repetitive motion with objects)

  • Restricted interests/ narrow or extreme interests in specific topics

  • Resistance to change or need for unvarying routine

  • Trouble gauging personal space

  • Repeat words or phrases over and over again (echolalia) 

  • May prefer to play alone or beside other children, not with other children (parallel play)

  • Sensory sensitivities (either over or under responsive)

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is a complex disorder of the brain that affects 1 in 20 developing children. In children who are gifted, have ADHD or ASD, the rate of occurrence is thought to be much higher. SPD can impact children in only one sense or in multiple senses, either causing an over-response or an under-response. Children with SPD most often have problems with skills and abilities needed for school success and childhood accomplishments. As a result, they frequently experience emotional, social, and academic concerns which can be improved with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or play therapy. For more detailed information, please visit the STAR Institute website here.


No matter where you are in your journey with your child to find answers and solutions, we have a trained team of clinicians here to help!

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