Characterizing Children with Autism in the Home Environment: Development of a Video-based Assessment of Autism Severity and Parent Behaviors
- Author(s): Danial, John
- Advisor(s): Wood, Jeffrey J
- et al.
Autism symptoms are typically assessed in laboratory environments without evaluating contextual variables from the child’s environment. Home environment factors such as access to activities and parental interaction style play a role in children’s development. The purpose of this project is to characterize children with autism in their home environment by (a) developing and evaluating observable measures of autism symptoms and child engagement in the home (b) using existing measures to assess parental interaction style and household activities (c) assess the degree to which these variables are related. Using a sample of 44 children with autism, reliability calculations were conducted for the novel measures, average scores of autism severity, engagement, parent behaviors, were reported, and mixed linear models and intercorrelation matrices were generated to assess associations between these variables. The novel measures were rated with good reliability and convergent validity. There was a clear relationship between parent behaviors, child engagement, and child autism symptoms. On an average day, children were most likely to be engaged in electronics and/or homework. The findings from this study have the potential to improve understanding of home life in children with autism and illuminate important home characteristics that may influence effectiveness of interventions.