International Meeting for Autism Research: Differences In the Activity Experiences of Children with Intellectual Disability with or without Autism Spectrum Disorders

Differences In the Activity Experiences of Children with Intellectual Disability with or without Autism Spectrum Disorders

Friday, May 13, 2011
Elizabeth Ballroom E-F and Lirenta Foyer Level 2 (Manchester Grand Hyatt)
1:00 PM
M. A. Viecili1, S. M. Brown1, J. A. Weiss1, A. Perry1, J. M. Bebko1 and P. Minnes2, (1)Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada, (2)Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada
Background: For children with severe developmental disabilities, participation in recreational and social activities facilitates the development and generalization of social skills and adaptive behaviours. For children with intellectual disabilities (ID) and with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), leisure activities have been found to have emotional, psychological, and educative benefits and social integration has been suggested to have positive influences on overall well-being. Engaging in social and recreational activities provides opportunities for friendships, the development of social skills and adaptive behaviours, and functions to prevent loneliness, which is a common problem for children with disabilities.

Objectives: The study aims to examine differences in the experiences of social and recreational activities between children with ID and children with both ASD and ID (ASD+ID). It was hypothesized that due to the social deficits that are inherent in a diagnosis of ASD, children with ASD + ID will participate in fewer social and recreational activities than peers with only ID. It was also hypothesized that activities in both groups will be similar in terms of the support person that is present, but that children with ID will be more likely to engage in recreational activities with typically developing peers.

Methods: Data for this study were collected as part of the GO4KIDDS: Great Outcomes for Kids Impacted by Severe Developmental Disabilities. Data collection is ongoing. Parents were recruited to participate through community agencies and online advertising. The measures utilized in this study were from a larger on-line survey, which included the Scales of Independent Behavior–Revised (SIB-R; Bruininks et al., 1996) and a brief questionnaire on social and recreational activities (Solish et al., 2010). Groups (ASD+ID and ID) did not differ on age, gender, and overall adaptive and maladaptive behavior as measured by the SIB-R. Thus far, 54 parents have participated, with 34 having a child with a diagnosis of ASD+ID, and 20 having a child with a diagnosis of only ID. Children ranged in age from 7 to 19 years (M = 12.02, SD = 2.92).

Results: Preliminary results suggest that a similar percentage of children with ID and with ASD+ID spend unstructured time with peers (36% vs. 32% respectively), go on social outings (21% vs. 32%), and take part in community activities (42% vs. 24%). However, a greater percentage of children with only ID played on a sport team (42% vs. 6%, p = .001), and took lessons in a leisure activity (68% vs. 35%, p = .02). The poster will further examine differences between groups on types of peers with whom they are interacting, and who is providing support during these activities.  

Conclusions: Evaluation of social inclusion programs should take into account the current findings when examining the level of child participation with peers. Researchers and program developers need to be aware of the different needs of children with ID who have comorbid ASDs.

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