Predictors and Course of Daily Living Skills Development in Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders
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Self-sufficiency is central to child and family well-being. This report focuses on predictors of adaptive daily living skills (DLS) development in young children with ASD and whether DLS gains predict decreases in parenting stress. Participants were 162 toddlers with ASD and their parents, assessed at 3 annual timepoints. Hierarchical Linear Models showed that age, DQ, and autism symptom severity uniquely predicted initial DLS and DLS growth. Child problem behaviors predicted initial DLS only. DLS was associated with change in parenting stress above and beyond DQ, autism symptom severity, and problem behaviors. Children with lower IQ and more severe symptoms showed slower DLS gains. Given its relation to parenting stress, DLS are an important intervention target in young children with ASD.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorders Daily living skills Adaptive behavior Parenting stress
Funding was provided by National Institute of Mental Health grant U54 MH 66398 (Helen Tager-Flusberg,Center Principal Investigator, Alice S. Carter, Project Principal Investigator) as well as grants from the National Alliance for Autism Research (Alice S. Carter, Principal Investigator) and the Boston University General Clinical Research Center. We are grateful to the families of the children in this study, whose participation in our project inspires this work and makes it possible.
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