Sensory Experiences Project

THE SENSORY EXPERIENCES PROJECT (SEP) is funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (#42168) to examine the development, functional impact, and cause of various sensory features in children with autism, developmental delay, and/or typical development, ages 2-12 years. SEP is part of the PEARLS program (Program in Early Autism Research, Leadership and Service) at UNC.

Sensory experiences involve myriad sounds, lights, motions, smells, tastes and/or touch sensations that we all encounter in our daily lives. Our project studies several types of behavioral response patterns that are evident in young children in both typical and atypical development. More about the project...

boy appleAmong these patterns are hyper- and hypo-responsiveness as well as sensory seeking behaviors. Hyporesponsiveness is a diminished response to a sensory event. For example, a child may fail to turn toward her head to the sound of a bell, or show a delayed reaction to pain. Hyperresponsiveness presents as aversion or avoidance to a sensory event. For example, a child may cover his ears to a sound, or pull away when touched. Sensory seeking is an intense fascination or craving for a particular sensory experience. For example, a child may spin in circles or rub textures repeatedly.

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