Karla Ausderau, PhD

Slide of the Week: Karla Ausderau, PhD

Title: Sensory Subtypes and Associated Outcomes in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Legend: Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale 2nd Edition- adaptive behavior composite score, domains, and maladaptive score by sensory subtype (Mild Subtype, Sensitive-Distressed Subtype, Attenuated-Preoccupied Subtype, and Extreme-Mixed Subtype). Parenting Stress Index 3rd Edition, Short Form- total score, parental distress, difficult child, and parent/child dysfunctional interaction by sensory subtype (Mild Subtype, Sensitive-Distressed Subtype, Attenuated-Preoccupied Subtype, and Extreme-Mixed Subtype). Groups sharing alphabetic notation were not significantly different and groups not sharing alphabetic notation were significantly different from each other.

Citation: Ausderau, K. K., Sideris, J., Little, L. M., Furlong, M., Bulluck, J. C. and Baranek, G. T. (2016), Sensory subtypes and associated outcomes in children with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Research. doi:10.1002/aur.1626.

Abstract: Sensory features are prevalent and heterogeneous across children with ASD and these features have been associated with child outcomes. Identification of clinically defined sensory subtypes may enhance our understanding of unique phenotypes that have implications for etiology, prognosis, and intervention. This longitudinal study used a national online survey aimed to identify associations of previously validated sensory subtypes to specific child and family characteristics and functional outcomes [Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale-II (VABS) and Parenting Stress Index-Short Form (PSI)]. The Sensory Experiences Questionnaire-3.0 was collected from caregivers with children with ASD, ages 2–12, at two time points (Time 1, n=1307, Time 2, n=884), 1 year apart. Functional outcomes assessments were collected at the second time point. A latent profile transition analysis (LPTA) was used to test associations, and results indicated that the attenuated-preoccupied subtype presented with the significantly lowest levels of VABS adaptive behavior composite scores compared to the other three sensory subtypes. Both the VABS maladaptive behavior index and the total PSI score were significantly highest in the extreme-mixed subtype. These results underscore the clinical utility of this subtyping approach for differentiating characteristics and functional outcomes associated with clinically defined sensory phenotypes. These findings may have implications for better understanding etiology, prognosis, and more precise targets for interventions designed to ameliorate sensory difficulties, and ultimately mitigate negative developmental consequences and parenting stress.

About the lab: Ausderau’s research focuses on families and children with ASD. She studies daily occupations, specifically eating and mealtimes, to elucidate the impact on the child’s health, family wellness, and overall daily participation. In addition, she studies sensory features in children with autism spectrum disorder, including their development, characterization, and impact on daily participation. With better characterization of feeding and sensory behaviors and understanding their influence on daily participation, Ausderau hopes to be able to develop more effective assessment tools, targeted treatment strategies, and improved outcomes for children and families.

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