Sensory Processing in Children and Adolescents with Neurofibromatosis Type 1
ADHD; adaptive skills; anxiety; autistic; neurofibromatosis type 1; sensory modulation; sensory processing
Despite the evidence of elevated autistic behaviors and co-occurring neurodevelopmental difficulties in many children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), we have a limited understanding of the sensory processing challenges that may occur with the condition. This study examined the sensory profile of children and adolescents with NF1 and investigated the relationships between the sensory profiles and patient characteristics and neuropsychological functioning. The parent/caregivers of 152 children with NF1 and 96 typically developing children completed the Sensory Profile 2 (SP2), along with standardized questionnaires assessing autistic behaviors, ADHD symptoms, internalizing symptoms, adaptive functioning, and social skills. Intellectual functioning was also assessed. The SP2 data indicated elevated sensory processing problems in children with NF1 compared to typically developing children. Over 40% of children with NF1 displayed differences in sensory registration (missing sensory input) and were unusually sensitive to and unusually avoidant of sensory stimuli. Sixty percent of children with NF1 displayed difficulties in one or more sensory modalities. Elevated autistic behaviors and ADHD symptoms were associated with more severe sensory processing difficulties. This first detailed assessment of sensory processing, alongside other clinical features, in a relatively large cohort of children and adolescents with NF1 demonstrates the relationships between sensory processing differences and adaptive skills and behavior, as well as psychological well-being. Our characterization of the sensory profile within a genetic syndrome may help facilitate more targeted interventions to support overall functioning.
Pride, Natalie A.; Haebich, Kristina M.; Walsh, Karin S.; Lami, Francesca; Rouel, Melissa; Maier, Alice; Chisholm, Anita K.; Lorenzo, Jennifer; Hearps, Stephen J.; North, Kathryn N.; and Payne, Jonathan M., "Sensory Processing in Children and Adolescents with Neurofibromatosis Type 1" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 3072.
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences