Anne V. Kirby, Lauren M. Little, Beth Schultz, Linda R. Watson, Wanqing Zhang, Grace T. Baranek; Development and Pilot of the Caregiver Strategies Inventory. Am J Occup Ther 2016;70(4):7004360010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.019901
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
Children with autism spectrum disorder often demonstrate unusual behavioral responses to sensory stimuli (i.e., sensory features). To manage everyday activities, caregivers may implement strategies to address these features during family routines. However, investigation of specific strategies used by caregivers is limited by the lack of empirically developed measures. In this study, we describe the development and pilot results of the Caregiver Strategies Inventory (CSI), a supplement to the Sensory Experiences Questionnaire Version 3.0 (SEQ 3.0; Baranek, 2009) that measures caregivers’ strategies in response to their children’s sensory features. Three conceptually derived and empirically grounded strategy types were tested: cognitive–behavioral, sensory–perceptual, and avoidance. Results indicated that the CSI demonstrated good internal consistency and that strategy use was related to child age and cognition. Moreover, parent feedback after completing the CSI supported its utility and social validity. The CSI may be used alongside the SEQ 3.0 to facilitate a family-centered approach to assessment and intervention planning.
What is the internal consistency of the three CSI subscales?
Does parents’ endorsement of particular CSI strategy types differ as a function of the children's age or cognitive level?
What is the perceived utility and social validity for parents?
Practitioners are encouraged to work collaboratively with families of children with ASD to assess the implications of the strategies being used and to make adjustments when interventions are not optimizing participation and quality of life.
The CSI offers a systematic way to measure caregivers’ strategies concurrently with assessment of sensory features in children with ASD, which has implications for future practice and research on effective interventions for children’s sensory processing challenges in naturalistic contexts. Within a family-centered approach, practitioners may use the instrument as a way to discuss the strategies that families have found to be effective in the context of their daily lives. After completion, practitioners may decide whether further evaluation of caregiver strategies is warranted with semistructured interviewing or observation of parent strategy use.
Practitioners should consider the targeted mechanism for change (e.g., alter a child’s sensory experience, change a child’s behavior, avoid an experience) when making intervention recommendations and interpreting the effectiveness of strategies used.
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