OBJECTIVE. We tested an occupational therapy contextual intervention for improving participation in children with autism spectrum disorders and for developing parental competence.

METHOD. Using a repeated-measures pretest–posttest design, we evaluated the effectiveness of a contextually relevant reflective guidance occupational therapy intervention involving three components: authentic activity settings, family’s daily routines, and the child’s sensory processing patterns (Sensory Profile). We used these components to coach 20 parents in strategies to support their child’s participation. Intervention sessions involved reflective discussion with parents to support them in identifying strategies to meet their goals and make joint plans for the coming week. We measured child participation (Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, Goal Attainment Scaling) and parent competence (Parenting Sense of Competence, Parenting Stress Index).

RESULTS. Results indicated that parents felt more competent and children significantly increased participation in everyday life, suggesting that this approach is an effective occupational therapy intervention.

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