About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5631-5632 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0265

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

BRIDGING ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL TRANSITIONS FOR YOUNG ADULTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS THROUGH SOCIAL COMMUNICATION SUPPORT GROUPS

M. Sanford, J. Waller, T. Caswell

Ithaca College (UNITED STATES)
Introduction:
This presentation describes a social communication program developed to support adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they transition from high school into post-secondary education, the workforce, and independent living. The model provides well-designed support services that effectively aid in bridging the gaps in transition planning. The essential components include: focus group analysis, person-centered planning, video-modeling, and module instruction. Measured outcomes include improvements in target social communication behaviors, self-advocacy skills, and increased independence.
It is imperative that effective transition supports be available to meet the diverse needs of young adults with ASD. Although intellectually prepared, these individuals often struggle with the expectations of post-secondary and vocational settings. They often experience difficulties using effective social communication behaviors, managing changes in the environment, social reciprocity, and self-advocacy skills. Ineffective transitions into new environments may lead to academic failure, social isolation, and loss of employment (Gobbo & Shmulsky, 2014, Hurewitz &Berger, 2008; Roux et al., 2013; Shattuck et al., 2012; White, Ollendick, & Bray, 2011). Higher-education institutions and work settings are interested in finding accommodations to promote successful transition experiences (VanPelt, 2008). Explicit support is essential for establishing positive academic and employment outcomes and, subsequently, increasing independence and enhancing general well-being.

Methods:
Evidence-based instruction is provided to improve quality of life and community integration. Data on social communication behaviors through a focus group discussion and person-centered planning activities are used to establish measurable objectives. These are targeted through learning modules in the areas of identity, social communication, and community inclusion. Video-modeling is used to teach specific conversational behaviors and social reciprocity. Participants learn strategies to develop peer-awareness and practical approaches for cultivating meaningful social experiences.

Results:
Participants demonstrate measured improvements in social communication and self-advocacy behaviors. A focus group analysis shows increases in sustained mutual attention, relevant questions, and message accuracy. Data indicate decreases in informational redundancy and unexpected behaviors. Participants increase their independence by using learned strategies to approach novel situations and to express their needs effectively. Participants generalize their individual program goals to their academic and vocational experiences with noted improvements in the quality of interactions with peers and other community members and in the participants' ability to attend to social boundaries. Improved management of daily transition experiences is reported in academic, vocational, and home environments.

Conclusions:
Improving outcomes for young adults with ASD depends on establishing innovative and well-designed support services to teach social behaviors, self-reliance, and advocacy skills. Sharing these measurable achievements serve to bridge the gaps in transitional planning for young adults with ASD, their educational settings, their families, and their communities.
@InProceedings{SANFORD2016BRI,
author = {Sanford, M. and Waller, J. and Caswell, T.},
title = {BRIDGING ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL TRANSITIONS FOR YOUNG ADULTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS THROUGH SOCIAL COMMUNICATION SUPPORT GROUPS},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0265},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0265},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {5631-5632}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Sanford AU - J. Waller AU - T. Caswell
TI - BRIDGING ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL TRANSITIONS FOR YOUNG ADULTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS THROUGH SOCIAL COMMUNICATION SUPPORT GROUPS
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0265
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 5631
EP - 5632
ER -
M. Sanford, J. Waller, T. Caswell (2016) BRIDGING ACADEMIC AND VOCATIONAL TRANSITIONS FOR YOUNG ADULTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS THROUGH SOCIAL COMMUNICATION SUPPORT GROUPS, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 5631-5632.
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