PEDI-CAT for Autistic Spectrum Disorders

The purpose of this project is to develop an efficient and comprehensive measure of adaptive behavior of children and youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Adaptive behavior is the performance of everyday activities that children are expected to complete in order to be active members in their family, school, and community. These activities include self care (toileting and dressing), getting around, taking care of personal belongings, making friends, and communicating needs and feelings. The extent to which the core symptoms of ASD interfere with a child’s ability to perform these activities is a significant concern of parents of children with ASDs. This study will revise a widely used measure of adaptive behavior, the PEDI, and validate the tool for use with children and youth with ASD.

This study will use a simple form of artificial intelligence to create a computer-based version of the PEDI specifically for children and youth with ASD. This is known as a ‘computer adapted test’. The PEDI ASD-CAT will minimize the number of items parents answer while maintaining the accuracy common to longer assessments. The PEDI ASD-CAT will enable clinicians and researchers to compare the adaptive behavior of children and youth with ASD to other children with and without disabilities. In addition, changes in adaptive behavior over time can be easily tracked by examining changes in an individual child’s criterion-based scores, or scores that indicate the number of activities the child can perform.

Parents of children and youth with ASDs who are interested in participating in research to validate this measure are invited to email us at or call us at 617-353-7492.