A 6-Month Follow-up of a Daily Living Skills Intervention for High Functioning Adolescents with ASD

Saturday, May 13, 2017: 12:00 PM-1:40 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
A. Duncan1, L. A. Ruble2, C. L. Thomas1 and L. J. Stark1, (1)Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, (2)University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Background:  Adolescence is a time of critical milestones, and those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), even those who are high functioning (IQ >70), have difficulties successfully transitioning to the adult world in areas such as independent living and employment (Hume et al., 2014). In one study, 46% of parents reported that adults with high functioning ASD required “extensive help” completing activities of daily living, which impacted their ability to maintain employment (Farley et al., 2009). Daily living skills are everyday activities such as personal hygiene, cooking, cleaning, and managing money. Daily living skills were the only significant factor that predicted a positive outcome in adulthood for individuals with ASD, and have been linked to a more successful outcome in college, employment, and independent living (e.g., Klinger et al., 2015). Despite their importance, the daily living skills of adolescents with high functioning ASD fall far below what would be expected based on their IQ and chronological age (Duncan & Bishop, 2015). While daily living skills can be taught using empirically-based strategies, there are no evidence based intervention packages that target the acquisition of daily living skills in adolescents with high functioning ASD. We recently completed a pre-post trial to evaluate the efficacy of an intervention package, Surviving and Thriving in the Real World (STRW), which targeted increasing critical daily living skills in adolescents with high functioning ASD. Results revealed that all 7 adolescent participants with ASD gained an average of 2-2.5 years, as measured by Vineland-II Daily Living Skills domain age equivalent scores, over the course of the 12-week intervention. Adolescent participants also made significant progress, as assessed by goal attainment scaling, in all targeted areas of the STRW intervention.

Objectives:  The primary aim of the current study was to evaluate the sustainability of STRW by assessing primary outcome measures (i.e., Vineland-II Daily Living Skills domain and subdomains, goal attainment scaling) at a 6-month follow-up assessment.

Methods: The pre-post trial consisted of 7 adolescents with ASD between 14-18 years and their parents. All participants had IQs>70 and met criteria for ASD on the ADOS-2. Information on daily living skills was collected using (1) the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, 2nd Edition and (2) a goal attainment scale that was created for each adolescent from a parent interview that assessed skills in the goals targeted in the STRW intervention. STRW consists of 12 group sessions with adolescents and their parents that targets skills in the areas of hygiene, cooking, laundry, and money management. Daily living skills were re-evaluated 6 months after completion of STRW.

Results: The 6-month follow-up assessment of STRW is currently being conducted and will be completed by October 2016. Statistical analyses will be conducted to examine primary outcomes.

Conclusions:  The current study will assist in determining whether critical daily living skills are sustained and further developed after completion of a daily living skills intervention for high functioning adolescents with ASD. A daily living skills intervention has the potential to directly affect current functioning and future adult outcomes in adolescents with high functioning ASD.