Kids in Context Research Lab



Our lab is led by Dr. Wendy Coster. We collaborate with health care professionals and families to design instruments to better understand the quality of life in children with disabilities. Current research activities are listed below.

  • Participation and Environment Project (PEP) – Funded by National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (Oct 2007- 2013)
  • PEDI-CAT for Autistic Spectrum Disorders Project (PEDI ASD-CAT) – Funded by National Institute of Health (Oct 2009-2013)  This project is also called “Computer Adaptive Testing of Adaptive Behavior in Children and Youth with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.”
  • PEDI Youth Responsibility Project –This research is being conducted to better understand adolescents’ perspectives on developing the responsibility for daily life tasks as they prepare for adulthood. Study findings will inform the development of a youth-report version of the PEDI Responsibility scale. (Now recruiting!)
  • ROAD Ahead Study  – This study focuses on high school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who will graduate high school with a diploma. The study aims to understand the interventions and supports that parents and special educators use to teach students with ASD how to manage the responsibilities of adulthood and identify factors that predict optimal post-school outcomes for this population. (Now recruiting!)

Our Mission

We believe that the design of an assessment can shape people’s perceptions about the children they are assessing. Therefore, we aim to design instruments that accurately represent the richness and complexity of the lives of children with and without disabilities. Guided by the framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, our measures focus on activity and participation, and the impact of the environment of the lives of children and youth. Our goal is to provide families, policy makers, practitioners, and researchers with meaningful information to guide their efforts to achieve optimal quality of life for all children.