Objectives: This study had 3 objectives: (1) to describe parent-reported transition-related concerns; (2) to determine what services or interventions are being utilized or are desired; and (3) to examine future goals and expectations that parents have for their adolescents.
Methods: Parents of adolescents with ASD and other developmental disabilities (e.g., ADHD, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and spina bifida) completed a questionnaire packet that included a newly developed parent questionnaire, the Adolescent Transition Survey (ATS). The ATS obtained information about transition areas including general concerns, education, vocation, residential placement, independent living, recreation, transportation, and social skills. Parents also completed a background history form and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-Caregiver rating scales.
Results: Data collection is ongoing and the sample is expected to exceed 100 participants by May, 2011. The current sample consists of 25 parents of adolescents with ASD and 18 parents of adolescents with other developmental disabilities. Adolescents were predominately male (74%) and ranged in age from 13 to 17 (mean age = 15.3 years). They represented a wide range of cognitive and adaptive functioning. Preliminary analyses indicated that the following transition issues were significant concerns of parents of adolescents with ASD: social skills and support (91%), academic skills needed for college or career training (74%), and money management skills (74%). Parents of adolescents with other developmental disabilities identified social skills and support (44%), communication skills (44%), and independent living skills (28%) as significant concerns. Additional analyses will be conducted to outline specific social-communication concerns, current utilization of supports, and expectations about educational, vocational, and independent living goals and supports. Analyses will also explore whether parent identified concerns and goals are related to characteristics of the adolescent (e.g., demographics, adaptive behavior scores).
Conclusions: A better understanding of the transition needs of adolescents with ASD is needed to improve outcomes in this population. This study will provide critical information about the concerns and barriers faced by parents of adolescents with ASD and further the development of more targeted and effective interventions.
Funding Sources: NIMH RC1 OD-09-003
See more of: Cognition and Behavior
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype