Perspectives on Pain in ASD: Perception, Physiology, and Behavior

Despite the common assumption that individuals with ASD are less sensitive to pain, empirical evidence is scarce and inconsistent. This panel will explore the available evidence, beginning with a systematic review of clinical behavioral studies suggesting that measurement approaches (e.g., facial affect, pain ratings, parent/self-report) heavily influence the presence and direction of reported differences in pain perception in individuals with ASD. This will be followed by three presentations that represent a range of these approaches, including clinical/caregiver report, psychophysics, functional neuroimaging, peripheral biopsy, and facial affect coding. The relation between pain and self-injurious behavior in ASD will be considered, and a summary discussion will synthesize the work presented with animal model and pharmacological perspectives. The goal of this panel is to provide an overview of available evidence for a severely under-studied aspect of sensory atypicality in ASD, and to encourage collaborative efforts integrating several of these approaches within the same population to clarify the emerging story of differences in pain perception in ASD. Given the potential for communication deficits to mask altered pain perception in verbal or nonverbal measures, creative approaches to understanding pain perception and processing are highly important for improving quality of life for individuals with ASD.
Friday, May 13, 2016: 10:30 AM-12:30 PM
Room 309 (Baltimore Convention Center)
Panel Chair:
M. D. Failla
C. J. Cascio
10:55 AM
Decreased Thermal Sensitivity in Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
E. G. Duerden M. J. Taylor M. Lee P. A. McGrath K. D. Davis W. Roberts