The development of sensory over-responsivity from infancy to elementary school

Ayelet Ben-Sasson, Alice S. Carter, Margaret J. Briggs-Gowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some infants experience atypical levels of over-responsivity to sensations, which limit their ability to interact and explore their environment. Yet, little is known about typical development of over-responsivity during infancy or whether the presence of extreme over-responsivity in infancy is a predictor of clinically significant sensory over-responsivity (SOR) at school-age. This study followed a representative sample of children (n = 521, 47% boys) at four time points from infancy (mean ages in months Year 1 = 18.23, Year 2 = 30.39, Year 3 = 39.40) to elementary school-age (mean age = 7.97 years). SOR was measured via parent report. A latent growth curve model predicting SOR at school age from the intercept and slope of Sensory Sensitivity between Years 1-3 showed excellent fit with the data. Both early sensory sensitivities and change in early sensitivities were associated with SOR status at school-age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1202
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R0155278) and the Wallace Foundation to Dr. Alice Carter. The work of the first author was partially supported by a European International Re-integration Grant (IRG: No. 203715). We are grateful to Prof. Stephanie Jones for her insightful advice and to Ms. Kimberly McCarthy for her ongoing assistance with this project.


  • Developmental trajectories
  • Growth curve model
  • Infancy
  • School-age
  • Sensitivity
  • Sensory modulation
  • Sensory over-responsivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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