Importance: Caregiver rating scales often give an unclear picture of the actual self-care performance of preschool children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Objective: To assess self-care performance among preschool children with ASD using two standardized instruments.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: Clinics, hospitals, and early intervention centers in Tainan, Taiwan.
Participants: Sixty children with ASD (ages 48–71 mo).
Outcomes and Measures: The Standard Version of the Childhood Autism Rating Scale–Second Edition, the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS), and the Chinese version of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI–C).
Results: About 53.3% of children with ASD scored below 1.5 logits for AMPS motor skills and below 1 logit for AMPS process skills, indicating difficulties performing activities of daily living tasks. The average PEDI–C self-care normative standard scores were moderately low (between −1 and −2 SDs), indicating poor self-care performance. The correlations between the two measures were also low (rs = .27–.44). Overall, the results for 36 children were consistent with AMPS and PEDI–C scores; however, those for 24 children (40.0%) were discrepant.
Conclusions and Relevance: These findings have implications for how preschool children with ASD perform their self-care activities and suggest that more than half of preschool children with ASD have a need for occupational therapy interventions that target self-care skills. Occupational therapy practitioners can work with preschool children with ASD and their families to help them improve their self-care performance.
What This Article Adds: Many children with ASD need occupational therapy interventions that target self-care skills. Both the AMPS and the PEDI–C provide valuable information from different perspectives on the self-care performance of preschool children with ASD.