Background: Participation is essential to children's development and is a major focus of intervention. This study aimed to describe the participation patterns of children with ASD, in comparison to typically developing (TD) children. Methods: 70 preschoolers participated: 33 children with ASD, attending non-inclusive-education settings; and 37 TD children, attending mainstream educational settings. Two occupational therapists assessed their participation through structured observations in self-care activities, play, learning, and social participation areas; demographic and environmental questionnaires were also completed. Results: In the ASD group, frequency of participation was found to be significantly higher in ADL and learning than in other areas; level of performance was found to be significantly lower in social participation than in other areas. The TD group scored significantly higher than did the ASD group in most areas and scales. Initial findings tentatively showed that a structured educational environment for children with ASD may increase participation frequency. Conclusions: The findings are consistent with recognized disabilities in play and social participation among children with ASD, and their limitations in participation, compared to their TD peers in most areas. Further studies are needed to evaluate additional psychometric properties of the different scales, and the impact of educational environments on participation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (No. 28032018) and the Israeli Ministry of Education (No. 10087).
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- Autistic spectrum disorder
- Educational environment
- Preschool daily activities