Thursday, September 27, 2012

Culture and Sensory Sensitivities

Have you ever considered the influence of culture on sensory sensitivities?  Does being from a different country or upbringing influence sensory preferences?  One would assume the answer is yes but definitive differences would be hard to categorize.

The American Journal of Occupational Therapy published research on a cross cultural comparison of sensory behaviors in children with autism.  The researchers compared the Short Sensory Profile responses completed by Israeli parents and United States parents of children with autism and typically developing peers.  The results indicated that "Israeli parents reported unusual responses to sensory experiences less frequently than U.S. parents for both autism spectrum disorders and typically developing children".  The United States children with autism spectrum disorders exhibited significantly greater difficulty in the Auditory Filtering and Visual/Auditory Sensitivity domains than Israeli children with autism spectrum disorders.

This study is very interesting to me.  By defining sensory behaviors based on culture we can look to different cultures to provide suggestions for other cultures.  For example, in the above study, if it was taken a step further are the researchers able to determine what Israeli parents may do differently in terms of auditory or visual domains that could help US parents?

Reference:  Kristina G. Caron,Roseann C. Schaaf,Teal W. Benevides,and Eynat Gal Cross-Cultural Comparison of Sensory Behaviors in Children With Autism Am J Occup Ther September 2012 66:e77-e80; doi:10.5014/ajot.2012.004226

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