Parent-reported environmental factors and strategies to support home and community participation in children on the autism spectrum.
Participating in home and community activities can be influenced by environmental factors and parent strategies. Children on the autism spectrum are reported to participate less in home and community activities than their neurotypical peers. Little is known about environmental factors that may influence their participation, and ways parents support their child’s participation.Materials and methods
Parents of children on the autism spectrum aged 5–6 years (n = 72) and 10–11 years (n = 94) completed the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth. This study reports on the perceived support, barriers, and resources in the home and the community environment. Parents reported strategies they used to support their child’s participation in home and the community.Results
Home environmental factors were identified as more supportive by the parents of younger children. The sensory quality of activities and social demands were factors identified as making community participation harder for both groups. Parents used a range of different strategies in the home and the community to support their child’s participation.Conclusions
Identifying environmental barriers and supports to participation can assist in developing interventions to support meaningful participation in activities for children on the autism spectrum.Implications for rehabilitation
- Skills required for the activity and preferences of children on the autism spectrum are important considerations when supporting their participation in activities.
- When exploring a child’s level of participation, it may be helpful to ask parents about what their child can do with or without their support.
- The sensory quality of the environment is a consideration when supporting the participation of children on the autism spectrum in community activities.
- As sensory processing is an individual experience, the impact of sensory elements of the environment may differ for individuals.
CitationSimpson, K. & Adams, D. (2023). Parent-reported environmental factors and strategies to support home and community participation in children on the autism spectrum, Disability and Rehabilitation. DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2023.2261843
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