Teaching Goal Attainment to Young Adults with Autism Using Self-Regulated Problem-Solving Strategy

Saturday, May 13, 2017: 12:00 PM-1:40 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
G. Yakubova1, A. Zehner2 and M. Aladsani2, (1)University of Maryland, College Park, MD, (2)Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
Background: Research examining interventions to teach skills that lead to self-determination to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is rare. Self-determination has been found as one of the predictors of successful adult life. Given poor adult outcomes and scarcity of research on interventions for young adults with ASD (Newman et al., 2011; Shattuck et al., 2012), examining ways of supporting youth with ASD and teaching skills that lead to self-determination is one important step to contributing to improved adult outcomes. One such strategy, self-determined career development model (SDCDM) focuses on teaching students to set goals, make plans for improvement, and evaluate/adjust goals through self-regulated problem-solving process. This session will present the findings of the study examining the effects of SDCDM on goal attainment of a young adult with autism. The presentation will provide attendees with the strategies for teaching youth with ASD self-regulated problem-solving process to set goals, make action plans, and evaluate and adjust goals based on progress.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of SDCDM on goal attainment of a young adult with autism when working towards career-related goals. Research questions were: (1) To what extent does a young adult with ASD improve performance toward self-selected career-related goals using SDCDM? (2) To what extent does a young adult with ASD maintain performance toward self-selected career-related goals following the use of SDCDM?

Methods: A multiple probe across three goals design of single-case experimental methodology was used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention on goal attainment and skill maintenance of a young adult with ASD. Using phase one of SDCDM, the participant generated three goals he wanted to work on during the project. Once goals were selected, the participant worked through phase two of the model to come up with student-directed strategies for each goal. Young adult participated in a minimum of five baseline sessions per goal, 8-10 intervention sessions, and three follow-up sessions. Data were analyzed using the recommended approaches for single-case experimental data: visual analysis analyzing for trend, level, variability, magnitude of effect and effect size calculation to determine the existence and magnitude of a causal relationship between an intervention and target skills (Kratochwill et al., 2013).

Results: Results supported the effectiveness of SDCDM in teaching a young adult with ASD to problem solve to set career-related goals, make action plans, and evaluate progress towards self-selected goals. The young adult showed immediate improvement in goal attainment from baseline to intervention phase and maintained performance with 100% accuracy. The young adult's supervisor in a community setting and behavior specialist also noted the participant's progress and held positive perceptions toward the use of self-regulated instructional strategies.

 Conclusions: The findings add to scarce research in teaching young adults with ASD using self-regulated problem-solving process and student-directed instructional strategies. As an applied research study conducted in the field, findings demonstrate how professionals can design and implement self-regulated instructional strategies to support skill acquisition and learning of young adults with ASD.