Title: Sensory profiles in genetic syndromes associated with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Funding body: The Chidren’s Hospital Charity

Funding Awarded: £25,000

PI: Dr Megan Freeth,

CI(s): Dr Chloe Lane, Dr Meena Balasubramanian (Sheffield NHS Children's Foundation Trust), Prof Elizabeth Milne and Dr Tim Heaton:

Project summary
Sensory processing problems in childhood can cause a broad range of difficulties that interfere with learning and many other day-to-day activities. A better understanding of an individual’s sensory profile means that adjustments to the environment and routines can be made to reduce the negative impact of sensory processing problems. The aim of the current project is to improve understanding of sensory processing in Sotos syndrome, Tatton-Brown Rahman syndrome, 16p11.2 duplication and 16p11.2 deletion syndrome. These syndromes have been chosen due to the high occurrence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptomatology within each population, which may increase the likelihood of sensory processing problems. This project represents the first systematic investigation of sensory profiles in these four genetic syndromes and will provide much-needed information regarding syndrome specific sensory profiles. It will also establish whether individual differences in clinical features within each syndrome population (anxiety; ADHD-traits; autistic-traits; adaptive behaviour) are related to various aspects of the sensory profile (sensory seeking; sensory avoiding; sensory sensitivity; sensory registration). The findings from the current project will provide vital information for newly diagnosed children in order that parents and clinicians are informed regarding what to expect throughout development and what may help via syndrome specific tailored information for parents and allied healthcare professionals. This project will be the first step in what we hope will be a larger programme of work towards improving provision for individuals with genetic syndromes who experience difficulty with sensory processing, potentially via tailored interventions and/or therapies.