Participation of children on the autism spectrum in home, school and community

Published June 2017
Background Children on the autism spectrum participate less frequently, and in a narrower range of activities, than their nonautistic peers, but little is known about exact participation patterns across contexts or how this is perceived by caregivers. This study aimed to document patterns of participation and caregiver views with regard to frequency and intensity of activities. Method Caregivers of children on the spectrum aged 5 (n = 90) and 9–10 years (n = 128) completed the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth for home, school, and community. Caregivers reported on frequency of child's participation, level of involvement, and caregivers' desire for change in participation patterns. Results Item-level analyses revealed similar patterns of participation across home, school, and community for both cohorts with some small age-appropriate differences. Caregivers generally desired increased diversity, frequency, and involvement in activities but a decreased use of electronics (computers, games, TV, and DVDs). Conclusion The possibility of autism-specific participation patterns could inform future interventions aimed at enhancing social inclusion. This warrants further investigation through multiinformant designs that seek the perspectives of the child and caregivers.
Simpson K., Keen, D., Adams, D., Alston-Knox, C., & Roberts, J. (2017). Participation of children on the autism spectrum in home, school and community. Child Care, Health & Development, early online. doi: 10.1111/cch.12483

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