In Our Own Words: The Complex Sensory Experiences of Autistic Adults

Keren MacLennan*, Sarah O'Brien, Teresa Tavassoli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Autistic adults commonly experience sensory reactivity differences. Sensory hyperreactivity is frequently researched, whilst hyporeactivity and seeking, and experiences across domains, e.g., vision, are often neglected. Therefore, we aimed to understand more about the sensory experiences of autistic adults. We conducted a mixed-methods study, co-produced with stakeholders; recruiting 49 autistic adults who completed an online survey. Firstly, quantitative results and content analysis enhanced our understanding of sensory input/contexts associated with sensory hyperreactivity, hyporeactivity, and seeking across modalities. Secondly, thematic analysis developed themes relating to ‘Outcomes’, ‘Control’, ‘Tolerance and management’, and ‘The role of other people’, informing a theoretical model of sensory reactivity differences in autistic adults. These findings have implications for support services and improving quality of life for autistic adults.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2021


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