The stage of transition of individuals with autism spectrum disorder from adolescence to young adulthood

The Stage Of Transition Of Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorder From Adolescence To Young Adulthood

The stage of transition of individuals with autism spectrum disorder from adolescence to young adulthood

Writer: Daniel Hertzberg

translation: a. Lujain Bin Jadid

In the past twenty years, Daniel and his colleagues administered a social skills battery to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, Their ages range from 5 to 18 years. This program teaches individuals with autism spectrum disorder how to recognize emotions and how to conduct conversations. and solve problems, How to build real friendships.

About five years ago, Some of those who completed the program reached out to us about helping them transition into young adulthood. They were concerned about the challenges involved in attending college, Choosing a career path, And success at work, and live independently, And how to form social relationships. Since the available resources were few for them.

Individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder often have poorer social and occupational outcomes than any other group of disabilities. As they face difficulty in receiving financial wages, Difficulty forming relationships and difficulty participating in society.

The researcher and his colleagues expressed their desire to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder, They have created a curriculum that helps individuals with ASD manage the stresses and challenges associated with the transition to young adulthood while training parents, caregivers, and related persons to assist in how to learn and implement the skills.

The researchers analyzed the literature on interventions used with individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia who have similar problems coping with the demands of adult life. Accordingly, a 20-week program for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder was developed. The program combines the inclusion of social skills appropriate for this age with the functional training module on adaptive skills that was developed at the University of California, Los Angeles teaches social skills, independence skills, and other daily living skills.

The experimental group included 13 participants from individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, aged between 18-24 years. With the inclusion of a weekly meeting for parents of participants to discuss the difficulties faced by adults, as well as attending lectures on services provided to individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

Unpublished training results indicate a high level of satisfaction for youth with autism spectrum disorder and their parents. Participants also reported a significant improvement in planning and organization skills.

Second version 2.0

The team and collaborators have also developed a second edition program that includes modules on how to cope with stress and develop coping skills, The goal here is to reduce the exposure of young people with autism spectrum disorder to avoiding social situations, as we believe that this behavior is responsible for the depressing statistics of social and professional outcomes.

The duration of the program is 20 weeks, The groups included both youth with autism spectrum disorder and social trainers, Parents, The curriculum is designed in a way that gives them opportunities to interact and collaborate.

The first unit includes four introductory lessons to teach basic concepts, Such as understanding social contexts as the idea of ​​social behavior may vary across social situations and contexts with individual adults, Lessons also include active listening and giving feedback for youth with ASD.

The second unit consists of six lessons, including learning interventions based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to learn how to deal with negative emotions and when engaging in uncomfortable situations rather than avoiding them. The third unit also includes five lessons designed to help participants understand and build relationships with friends effectively and clarify the differences, rules, and boundaries related to relationships, whether they are with friends, with the manager, or with parents, using cognitive behavioral therapy instead of avoiding engaging in them.

The last four lessons focus on the workplace, They focus on “what to do” in these situations, perceiving social situations involving colleagues and superiors, and giving and receiving feedback about the job. Participants may also be asked to obtain paid work or volunteer work, And complete weekly assignments with social coaches.

The program was conducted using waitlist participants as a control group. The analysis included 41 people, Their ages range between 18 and 38 years, Of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and with an IQ greater than 70. Participants were randomly selected and the intervention and treatment plan was monitored. People in the final group received the intervention six months after the trial where participants and social coaches were assessed using questionnaires to measure social and adaptive functioning and identify self-determination skills, self-efficacy and anxiety.


The results of the trial were encouraging although participants did not report reduced anxiety. Their adaptive performance improved, Also significant improvement in independence skills at home such as, Take responsibility for cleaning, property maintenance, food preparation and other household chores, Social coaches also reported improved communication and self-direction skills versus self-determination skills such as goal setting, planning, and self-advocacy skills.

Participants reported developing confidence in their abilities when seeking social support from family and friends during difficult times. Also their satisfaction with the intervention was very high.

The experience was enriched with important lessons. Although previously there was no assistance for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to develop adaptive, social, vocational, and self-determination skills, they are required in adult life, so these skills need to be relearned in the pre-adolescent age stages.

The group members, children and adolescents, needed to learn how to generalize skills in different situations with adults, Likewise, many parents noticed that as their children became adults, They needed adaptive, social, vocational and self-determination skills.

Also, 20 weeks is not enough to teach individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder how to transition into adult life. It is assumed that the study period will be increased.

Participants reported that the most valuable components of the program were getting to know the work environment, learning organizational skills, and learning how to participate to present positive and negative ideas and leverage their strengths.

Through this experience, parents succeeded in enabling independence for their adult children. Example, One parent in our group allowed her son with autism spectrum disorder to travel alone to New York City to visit a friend. This experience made him feel strong and independent. As it helps parents to allow their children to be more independent, but carefully and safely.


How to help young adults with autism transition to adulthood | Spectrum | Autism Research News (