Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Cay Anderson-Hanley




asd, cpt, participant, normative, seconds


Pain sensitivity in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have been shown to vary greatly in the literature. Previous work by Rattaz et al. used venepuncture to display slower recovery in ASD youth. Later, Duerden et al. used the Cold Pressor Test (CPT) to conclude that ASD youth demonstrate a profile of decreased thermal sensitivity. In the current study, four normative males and one ASD male participated in the Cold Pressor Test. The ASD youth was also given the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS-3) to verify ASD tendencies. Prior to the CPT, all participants were asked to place their dominant, unclenched hand to wrist in a warm water bath for two minutes, then the same hand was placed in the CPT. They were asked to provide pain intensity ratings, using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) at the initiation of pain, every ten seconds, and upon withdrawal of the hand. Baseline vitals were also obtained prior to and following both the warm water bath and CPT. Upon completion, video recordings of the participants were reviewed for facial actions by two raters using the Child Facial Coding System (CFCS) to assess pain. The ASD child was found to provide lower VAS scores compared to his normative peers, yet both groups showed the same number of facial actions during the two CPT iterations.