Assessing Child Life Specialists' Knowledge, Competency, and Comfort Levels Managing Challenging Behaviors in Pediatric Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder




Lavery, Kaitlyn

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The present study assessed perceived competency and comfort levels among Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLSs) regarding the management of common challenging behaviors exhibited by pediatric patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in healthcare settings. Utilizing a mixed-methods design, 131 CCLSs completed an online survey that assessed perspectives on managing challenging behavior, current knowledge of childhood ASD, as well as any training or education participants had received on childhood ASD and challenging behavior. The majority of participants reported having experience providing care to children on the spectrum who exhibited challenging behavior while working as a CCLS in a healthcare setting. Findings indicated that very few participants reported high levels on both their perceived competency and comfort regarding managing a variety of challenging behaviors. Results showed that knowledge and the amount of training CCLSs had received on childhood autism and challenging behaviors positively and significantly correlated with their perceived competency and comfort levels managing such behaviors in the hospital.



Child life, Child life specialists, Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Challenging behavior, Human development


Lavery, K. (2021). <i>Assessing child life specialists' knowledge, competency, and comfort levels managing challenging behaviors in pediatric patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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