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Fear and sensory experiences in children on the autism spectrum

By Laura McGowan


Existing research indicates that typically developing children pass through predictable\ud stages of fear development throughout their childhood. Evidence suggests that in general,\ud children with disabilities experience more fears than typically developing children.\ud Children with disabilities share similar stages of fear development compared to typically\ud developing children, but at a delayed rate, with a more protracted course. Children on the\ud autism spectrum experience higher levels of anxiety, compared to other children. Limited\ud fear research in children on the autism spectrum suggests that they exhibit a unique fear\ud profile compared to their peers, however, little is known about why this may be.\ud Chapter 1 reviews published literature on fear development for typically developing\ud children, children with physical and intellectual disabilities, and children on the autism\ud spectrum. Chapter 2 presents an empirical study that investigates the relationship between\ud sensory processing and fear profiles in children on the autism spectrum. The results support\ud the notion that sensory experiences may account for a proportion of the unique fear pattern\ud experienced by children on the autism spectrum. The thesis concludes with a reflective\ud account that reviews the process of conducting internet-mediated research on children on\ud the autism spectrum

Topics: BF, RJ
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