Despite the joy of parenting, the burden of daily caregiving for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be overwhelming and constant. Parents can expect to provide enduring care for their children with ASD. Given that the majority of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) remain in their family homes well into adulthood, often the need for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) is placed on parents. Providing ongoing support to adult children who have difficulty with completing ADLs can increase parental caregiving demands. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the ability of adults with ASD to perform ADLs with parental perceptions of caregiver burden.
Quantitative analysis of cross-sectional multi-state data gathered electronically using Qualtrics from 320 aging parents of adults with ASD was conducted. Regression models were fit to examine the association of ADL challenges with total caregiver burden and its four domains (emotional, financial, time dependence, and developmental).
Parental perceptions of caregiver burden decreased, particularly time dependence and developmental burden, when adult children were less dependent in ADLs, even after adjusting for parental health and behavioral challenges.
Findings support the need for family-centered interventions to improve the capacity of adults with ASD to perform ADLs independently.