Association between impairment, function, and daily life task management in children and adolescents with autism

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 Jan;57(1):68-74. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12562. Epub 2014 Oct 14.


Aim: This cross-sectional study examined whether impairments or functional skills are associated with the level of responsibility for life tasks for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Method: Parents of 263 children and adolescents with ASDs (215 males; 48 females; mean age 12y 6mo [SD 4y 6mo], range 3-21y) completed an online survey that included the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory-Computer Adaptive Test - Autism Spectrum Disorders (PEDI-CAT-ASD) Daily Activities, Social/Cognitive, and Responsibility domains, a demographic questionnaire, and the Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) Current. The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Framework guided the selection of model variables. We used hierarchical multiple regression to examine the relationship between impairment and functional skill predictor variables and the outcome variable, Responsibility. Age was entered in step 1 to control for the impact of development. SCQ Current, IQ, and remaining PEDI-CAT-ASD domains were then entered in step 2.

Results: After controlling for age, the model showed that step 2 predictor variables representing both impairments and functional skill improved the model (p<0.001). All variables except the SCQ score were significant predictors of Responsibility. The variance explained by the Daily Activities (2.7%) and Social/Cognitive (4.8%) domain scores was greater than IQ (0.3%).

Interpretation: The functional skills of Daily Activities and Social/Cognitive domains were more strongly associated with the management of life tasks than impairments after controlling for age.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development Disorders, Pervasive / physiopathology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Skills*
  • Young Adult