Published: 17 February 2016 at 13:02
New study by Anglia Ruskin psychologists examines difficulties faced in classroom
New research shows that children with autism experience higher levels of sensory discomfort at school than children who do not have autism – and this affects their ability to learn.
The study, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, was carried out by Fiona Howe and Dr Steven Stagg of Anglia Ruskin University.
The research, which was conducted at three schools in the East of England, found that 88% of children with autism were affected by issues related to hearing.
In addition, 75% were affected by issues related to touch, 50% by vision and 38% by smell. All of the participants reported difficulties with at least one sense.
It has previously been shown that people with an autistic spectrum condition (ASC) have difficulty processing senses. The academics in this new study wanted to discover how it affected children with ASC at school.
The psychologists found that the sensory problems not only impacted on the children’s learning, but also affected their emotional state, with feelings of discomfort and anxiety commonly reported.
Problems ranged from an inability to concentrate in a classroom due to noise, to anxiety caused by walking along corridors full of people pushing into each other.