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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 541926, 8 pages
Clinical Study

Association of Sensory Processing and Eating Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

1École de Réadaptation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3N 1H1
2École de Réadaptation, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation (CRIR), Montreal, QC, Canada H2H 2N8
3Department of Occupational Therapy Education, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
4Faculty of Medicine, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3G 1Y5

Received 16 June 2011; Accepted 25 July 2011

Academic Editor: Bernadette Rogé

Copyright © 2011 Geneviève Nadon et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


“Selective” or “picky eating” is a frequent problem in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Many of these children do not treat sensory input, particularly olfactory, auditory, visual, and tactile information in the same manner as their typically developing peers of the same age. The purpose of this paper was to examine the relationship between problems of sensory processing and the number of eating problems in children with ASD. Of 95 children with ASD, 3 to 10 years of age, 65 percent showed a definite difference and 21 percent a probable difference in sensory processing on the total score of the Short Sensory Profile. These results were significantly related to an increase in the number of eating problems measured by the Eating Profile. These results could not be explained by age, sex, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, or hyperactivity. Timely interventions focusing on the sensory components of eating must now be developed.