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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. Abstract Background Individuals on the autism spectrum are reported to display alterations in interoception, the sense of the internal state of the body. The Interoception Sensory Questionnaire (ISQ) is a 20-item self-report measure of interoception specifically intended to measure this construct in autistic people. The psychometrics of the ISQ, however, have not previously been evaluated in a large sample of autistic individuals. Methods Using confirmatory factor analysis, we evaluated the latent structure of the ISQ in a large online sample of adults on the autism spectrum and found that the unidimensional model fit the data poorly. Using misspecification analysis to identify areas of local misfit and item response theory to investigate the appropriateness of the seven-point response scale, we removed redundant items and collapsed the response options to put forth a novel eight-item, five-response choice ISQ. Results The revised, five-response choice ISQ (ISQ-8) showed much improved fit while maintaining high internal reliability. Differential item functioning (DIF) analyses indicated that the items of the ISQ-8 were answered in comparable ways by autistic adolescents and adults and across multiple other sociodemographic groups. Limitations Our results were limited by the fact that we did not collect data for typically developing controls, preventing themore »analysis of DIF by diagnostic status. Additionally, while this study proposes a new 5-response scale for the ISQ-8, our data were not collected using this method; thus, the psychometric properties for the revised version of this instrument require further investigation. Conclusion The ISQ-8 shows promise as a reliable and valid measure of interoception in adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum, but additional work is needed to examine its psychometrics in this population. A free online score calculator has been created to facilitate the use of ISQ-8 latent trait scores for further studies of autistic adolescents and adults (available at ).« less
  5. Purpose Differences in communication development impact long-term outcomes of children with autism. Previous research has identified factors associated with communication in children with autism, but much of the variance in communication skill remains unexplained. It has been proposed that early differences in sensory responsiveness (i.e., hyporesponsiveness, hyperresponsiveness, and sensory seeking) may produce “cascading effects” on communication. Evidence for this theory is limited, however, as relations between sensory responsiveness and communication in the earliest stages of development have not been well established. The purpose of this study was to evaluate (a) whether infants with a heightened likelihood of autism diagnosis (i.e., infants with an older sibling with autism) differ from infants at general population–level likelihood of autism (i.e., infants with an older, nonautistic sibling) on patterns of sensory responsiveness, (b) whether early sensory responsiveness is correlated with concurrent communication, and (c) whether the aforementioned between-groups differences and associations are moderated by age. Method Participants were 40 infants (20 infants with an older sibling with autism, 20 infants with an older, nonautistic sibling) aged 12–18 months. A series of observational and parent report measures of sensory responsiveness and communication skill were administered. Results Group differences in sensory responsiveness across the 12- tomore »18-month period were limited (i.e., only observed for one measure of hyporesponsiveness), though selected differences in sensory responsiveness (i.e., parent-reported hyperresponsiveness and sensory seeking) emerged between groups over this developmental window. Parent-reported hyporesponsiveness was unconditionally, negatively associated with communication skills. Associations between expressive communication and (a) parent-reported sensory seeking and (b) an observational measure of hyperresponsiveness were moderated by age. Conclusions This study provides new insights into the nature of sensory responsiveness and theorized links with communication skill in infants at elevated and general population–level likelihood of autism diagnosis. Further work is needed to better characterize the effects of interest in a larger sample spanning a wider age range. Supplemental Material« less