Examining Environmental Predictors of Community Participation for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A geographic information system (GIS) approach systematically assessed whether population density and distribution of community resources contributed to caregiver reported community participation outcomes for 124 adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Regression analyses examined whether GIS measures predicted community participation in areas of social activities and use of services, while also accounting for adult age, conversation ability, and daily living skills (DLS). Results indicated that in addition to person factors of greater DLS and better conversation ability, access to specific community features, such as bus stops, contributed to improved participation. Unexpectedly, population density where one lived made minimal contribution to participation outcomes, except in getting together with friends outside of organized activities.

Keywords: Adults; Autism spectrum disorder; Community participation; Geographic information systems (GIS); Services