Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 11, pp 3783–3793 | Cite as

Leisure Participation Patterns for School Age Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Findings from the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health

  • Karen Ratcliff
  • Ickpyo Hong
  • Claudia HiltonEmail author
Original Paper


Leisure activity participation is important for health and well-being. This study examined similarities and differences between typically developing children and those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from 6 to 17 years old in physical, recreational, social, skill, and jobs/chores activities from a large national database. Findings revealed that children with ASD had significantly lower participation levels than those without ASD between 11 and 17 years old. They suggest an increasing disparity among many types of leisure participation for children and youth with ASD as they age, eventually leading to limited participation in adult activities. They reinforce the importance of intervention at an early age to increase participation in these activities to promote development of skills that contribute to adult competencies.


Autism spectrum disorders Children Youth Physical activity participation Social participation 



This research was supported in part by grant# K12 HD055929 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Author Contributions

All authors provided concept/idea/research design and writing. KR and CL provided data collection and conducted literature review. IH provided data analysis.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Karen Ratcliff declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ickpyo Hong declares that he has no conflict of interest. Claudia Hilton declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Texas Medical Branch as exempt from a full board review due to the de-identified public use data and complies with the NSCH Data Use Agreement.

Informed Consent

It was not possible to obtain informed consent form the participants in this study because the data set is de-indentified and does not contain personal identifying information.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 46 KB)
10803_2018_3643_MOESM2_ESM.doc (50 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 50 KB)
10803_2018_3643_MOESM3_ESM.doc (230 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 230 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Occupational Therapy DepartmentUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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