Background This study sought to describe the activities and participation of adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Singapore and to examine the suitability of the Activity and Participation component of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health for achieving this purpose. This information may guide the development of intervention programmes for adolescents and adults as well as the provision of a means to document meaningful outcomes.
Methods Parents of 20 adolescents with ASD attending special schools in Singapore were interviewed using the Vineland Adaptive Behavioural Scales – Second Edition and the Activities and Participation Rating Scale (APRS), which was developed for this study.
Results The adolescents with ASD were rated to have more difficulties with participation than with the engagement of activities. Individual domain analyses indicate no difficulties with mobility and mild difficulties with self-care. The performance of general tasks and demands were rated as less problematic than domestic, major life areas, communication and interpersonal interactions. The adolescents with ASD were rated to have more difficulties in communication and community environments than in at home. In addition, analysis of associations between the APRS and Vineland Adaptive Behavioural Scales – Second Edition reveal a pattern of strong relationships between sub-tests.
Conclusion This study highlights the imperative for researchers and practitioners alike to develop a focus on strengths, generalisation and the quality of life of adolescents with ASD. The APRS also shows promise in helping document outcomes for adolescents with ASD in Asia and further development of this instrument is needed.