Until recently, the sensory integration issues that plague many individuals on the autism spectrum have taken a back seat to the more commonly identified social and communication issues traditionally used to diagnose the disorder. In fact, the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV-TR) states that the main areas of impairment in people with autism are communication, social interaction, repetitive motion, and restricted interests.
For individuals with autism who experience sensory integration issues, information is incorrectly processed by the brain, often causing distress, discomfort, and confusion. These sensory processing difficulties can be an underlying cause for some of the more commonly recognized behaviors often associated with autism, including avoiding eye contact and stimming behavior. When it comes specifically to perception and what the individual with autism sees, these issues can be a result of both ophthalmological and perceptual processing disorders.