Beth Pfeiffer, Wendy Coster, Gretchen Snethen, Maggie Derstine, Aimee Piller, Carole Tucker; Caregivers’ Perspectives on the Sensory Environment and Participation in Daily Activities of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Am J Occup Ther 2017;71(4):7104220020–7104220028. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.021360
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© 2020 American Occupational Therapy Association
The purpose of this phenomenological study was to obtain caregivers’ perspectives on the impact of the sensory environment on participation in daily activities of their young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Interviews were completed with 34 caregivers of children with ASD ages 3–7 yr. Results strongly suggest that parents and caregivers were pivotal in enabling participation for their children through the implementation of specific strategies and a parental decision-making process. The decision-making process considered amount of effort necessary to support participation and whether participation in a given activity was perceived as essential or nonessential. Strategies enabled participation and reduced the effort required to support the child’s participation. Strategies either directly related to the sensory factors of the environment or focused on reducing behavioral responses associated with sensory factors. In this study, we identified important considerations to enhance participation in the home and community environments for children with ASD.
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