Understanding the subjective experience of sensory aspects in ASD.

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Phenomenology
  • Social sciences
    • Psychopathology
    • Clinical and counseling psychology not elsewhere classified
    • Sensory processes and perception
Autism spectrum disorder first person perspective sensory and bodily differences phenomenology qualitative research
Project description

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by a different sensory experience of the body and the perceptual world (e.g.: by visual or auditive stimuli eliciting pain or anxiety). Systematic research into the subjective experience of those differences is poor. Insight in this first person perspective is crucial to improve clinical understanding and treatment of people suffering with ASD. This project builds a phenomenological account of sensory experience in ASD by conducting a series of in-depth qualitative studies addressing the first-person experience of adults living with ASD. First, a conceptual, phenomenological framework of sensory experience in ASD is constructed. Second, the subjective meaning and impact of sensory experiences are examined through an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of one-to-one interviews. Third, coping strategies of sensory differences are investigated through focus group interviews. Fourth, the impact of sensory differences on five experiential dimensions (body, time, space, intersubjectivity and selfhood) is explored in an ethnographic study of adults living within a clinical setting. The project will result in a phenomenologically grounded and empirically validated model of sensory experience in ASD.