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Autism. 2018 Dec 22:1362361318801345. doi: 10.1177/1362361318801345. [Epub ahead of print]

Development, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of an employment-related social skills intervention for young adults with high-functioning autism.

Author information

1
1 Michigan State University, USA.
2
2 Florida Gulf Coast University, USA.
3
3 East China Normal University, China.
4
4 Western Oregon University, USA.
5
5 California State University, Los Angeles, USA.

Abstract

This article details the iterative development, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week work-related social skills intervention, Assistive Soft Skills and Employment Training, for young adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. In this mixed-methods study, pre- and post-intervention surveys, interviews, and functional measures were used to gather information on the program's feasibility, user acceptability, practicality, and preliminary efficacy. Results indicate that Assistive Soft Skills and Employment Training graduates showed significant improvements in work-related social skills knowledge, social functioning, and social/empathy self-efficacy. Participants and group facilitators also reported high satisfaction with program activities, training modalities, frequency, and duration of the intervention. Results support expanded use of group-based, work-related, social skills interventions for young adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder. Moreover, these findings, though preliminary, suggest that manualized, empirically based programs like Assistive Soft Skills and Employment Training promote improved social functioning, self-confidence, engagement, and adherence to training, as well as broader impacts, including improved sense of belonging and greater employability in this traditionally underserved population.

KEYWORDS:

Assistive Soft Skills and Employment Training; adolescents; autism spectrum disorder; employment; soft skills; work-related social skills; young adults

PMID:
30582341
DOI:
10.1177/1362361318801345

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