Many children with autism feel overwhelmed by the world around them. 

Autistic people and their families have told us that reducing anxiety and understanding sensory processing in autism are key research priorities for them. 

With our partner charity, MQ, we're investigating the link between sensory reactivity and anxiety.


Explaining the need for this project

Many children with autism feel overwhelmed by the world around them. These ‘sensory reactivity’ symptoms can make attending playgroups or school challenging and could be having an impact on mental health. With our partner charity, MQ, we’re funding Teresa Tavassoli to investigate the link between sensory reactivity and anxiety.

The research process

The project will follow 70 young children who have been diagnosed with autism from the age of 4 to 6 years. The research will consider how the children respond to sensory stimuli, by directly assessing their reactions, and ask the children’s caregivers about how their child reacts to the sensory world around them. 

Questionnaires, interviews and computer-based tasks will also be used to assess levels of anxiety and other mental health symptoms. The research will reveal the relationship between sensory sensitivity and anxiety, and how this may change over the early years of life.

How this project is making a difference

By understanding if sensory reactivity is related to the development of anxiety in young children with autism, a new opportunity for intervention is created.