Overtime, studies have focused on understanding if and how sensory integration and processing patterns exist as part of difficulties neurodevelopmental  and neuropsychiatric  conditions, and therefore how these may be used to inform intervention planning. (Adamson 2006, Brown et al 2009, Patten et al 2013, Siaperas 2014, Tomchek et al 20014, Smith Roley et al 2014, Smith Roley et al 2015, 2015, Green et al 2018, Harrison et al 2021). This article explores possible links between sensory processing, ASD, ADHD and attention. 


Autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are early neurodevelopmental conditions that share clinical characteristics, raising important issues in clinical diagnosis. We aimed to compare (1) sensory processing in four groups of children: ASD alone, ASD + ADHD, ADHD alone, and typical development (TD) and (2) the association between sensory processing and attention in the three groups with neurodevelopmental disorders. Our sample included 120 children aged from 6 to 12 years divided into four groups: ASD alone (N = 43), ASD + ADHD (N = 18), ADHD alone (N = 28), and TD (N = 31). Atypical sensory processing was more frequent in ASD and/or ADHD than in TD, without a significant difference between ASD and ADHD. However, the variance analysis of attention problems revealed differences between the ADHD and ASD groups. Thus, the rate of atypical sensory processing was comparable between the ASD and ADHD groups, suggesting that further studies are needed to explore atypical SP in all neurodevelopmental disorders.


Dellapiazza, F., Michelon, C., Vernhet, C. et al. Sensory processing related to attention in children with ASD, ADHD, or typical development: results from the ELENA cohort. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 30, 283–291 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-020-01516-5