Anecdotal reports and empirical evidence suggest that sensory processing issues are a key feature of autism spectrum conditions. This study set out to investigate whether adults with autism spectrum conditions report more sensory over-responsivity than adults without autism spectrum conditions. Another goal of the study was to identify whether autistic traits in adults with and without autism spectrum conditions were associated with sensory over-responsivity. Adults with (n = 221) and without (n = 181) autism spectrum conditions participated in an online survey. The Autism Spectrum Quotient, the Raven Matrices and the Sensory Processing Scale were used to characterize the sample. Adults with autism spectrum conditions reported more sensory over-responsivity than control participants across various sensory domains (visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, gustatory and proprioceptive). Sensory over-responsivity correlated positively with autistic traits (Autism Spectrum Quotient) at a significant level across groups and within groups. Adults with autism spectrum conditions experience sensory over-responsivity to daily sensory stimuli to a high degree. A positive relationship exists between sensory over-responsivity and autistic traits. Understanding sensory over-responsivity and ways of measuring it in adults with autism spectrum conditions has implications for research and clinical settings.
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