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Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 10–20 | Cite as

Leisure Activity Enjoyment of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

  • Megan Eversole
  • Diane M. Collins
  • Amol Karmarkar
  • Lisa Colton
  • Jill Phillips Quinn
  • Rita Karsbaek
  • Jessica Reinken Johnson
  • Nicolle Patricia Callier
  • Claudia L. HiltonEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Enjoyment is a fundamental component of activity participation. This study compared leisure activity enjoyment experienced by typically developing children (TD; n = 64) and those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD; n = 67) from age 6 to 13. The TD children enjoyed formal and physical activities significantly more than the children with ASD. Symptom severity was negatively related to enjoyment of overall, formal, physical and social activities. Older children with ASD enjoyed overall, informal, recreational, and self-improvement activities significantly less than younger children, but no differences were seen across TD age groups. Children with ASD enjoyed swimming significantly more than TD children. Understanding patterns of activity enjoyment is useful for being better able to address a child’s motivation to participate in various life activities.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorders Activity enjoyment Motivation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Thanks to Kate Graver, Mary Catherine Crouch, Lyndsay Wente, Andrea Runzi Lang, Mallory Wheeler, Rachel Holmes Kueker, Patti LaVesser, Sarah Dugan, Alysha Munoz, Ben Olch, Kristin Seefeldt, Caitlin Stockelman, Staphanie Zaepfel, Shannon Gaetke, Betty Schaefer, Cathy Crouch, Valerie Harbolivic, Sonia O’Donnell, Lynda Cordry, Tami Morrissey, Deb Dolan, Nancy Vanderweile Milligan, Jackie Kilburn, Lois Ehrhard, Joan Smith, Tina Kreummel, Nancy Buchholz, Lori Thompson, Marla Johnson, Lou Pruitt, and Kathy List for their assistance with this project. A special thanks goes to the families who participated.

Author Contributions

ME performed certain statistical analyses, participated in the interpretation of the data, and drafted much of the manuscript; CH conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed aspects of the measurement, performed certain statistical analyses, participated in the interpretation of the data, and drafted much of the manuscript; DC participated in determining appropriate statistical analyses, participated in interpretation of the data, and edited the manuscript; AK guided statistical analyses; LC, JQ, RK, JJ and NC performed aspects of the measurement, performed certain statistical analyses, and contributed text to the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan Eversole
    • 1
  • Diane M. Collins
    • 2
  • Amol Karmarkar
    • 3
  • Lisa Colton
    • 4
  • Jill Phillips Quinn
    • 5
  • Rita Karsbaek
    • 6
  • Jessica Reinken Johnson
    • 7
  • Nicolle Patricia Callier
    • 8
  • Claudia L. Hilton
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Occupational Therapy DepartmentUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  4. 4.Occupational Therapy DepartmentChildren’s Hospital of PhiladelphiaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Occupational Therapy DepartmentFamily Service Madison, Bridges Birth to ThreeMadisonUSA
  6. 6.Occupational Therapy DepartmentPhysiotherapy AssociatesSt. CharlesUSA
  7. 7.Occupational Therapy DepartmentTherapy ReliefChesterfieldUSA
  8. 8.Occupational Therapy DepartmentPSKidsSt. LouisUSA

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