Most of the researches that are done on the population with ASD rely on parent report for describing behavior and symptoms. Psychometric studies in assessment have supported the utility of parent reports but there is a growing concern that the cultural and external factors may influence ratings of severity. The main objective behind conducting this study was to investigate if parent characteristics influence the severity rating of ASD over and above child characteristics.

Using the NS-CSHCN, 3,037 parents were examined who answered questions about their child’s ASD symptoms. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to assess child-level variables and family-level variables. Mediation analyses were also done to examine the relationship between language and severity ratings. Parents rated their child’s ASD as mild, moderate, or severe. Parent-level variables explained a significant amount of variance over and above child-level variables. Several different stressors and challenges for English Language Learner parents mediated the relationship between language and severe ASD ratings.

The study concluded through its findings that the clinicians and researchers must consider the influence of sociocultural factors on ratings. In addition, because parent perception can drive help-seeking behaviors, professionals need to understand that there may be differences across sociocultural groups. Future research should investigate which sociocultural perceptions or expectations may be affecting parent ratings of ASD severity.