Improving Daily Living Skills in College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Peer-Mediated Daily Living Checklist Intervention

Poster Presentation
Friday, May 11, 2018: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall Grote Zaal (de Doelen ICC Rotterdam)
E. Engstrom1, R. L. Koegel2 and M. Higgins3, (1)Koegel Autism Center, UCSB Koegel Autism Center, Santa Barbara, CA, (2)Stanford Medical School, Stanford, CA, (3)UCSB Koegel Autism Center, Santa Barbara, CA

Research suggests individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulties with daily living skills that affect adaptive behavior, which are a major barrier to success in higher education settings and beyond. Few interventions target the improvement of daily living skills within this population, with even fewer targeting college students. Since interventions that integrate motivational and peer-mediated components have improved social communication in college students with ASD, it is possible that incorporating these methods into a daily living checklist, a type of self-management intervention, may lead to greater improvements in daily living skills for this population as well.


The purpose of this study is to assess whether the use of peer-mediated motivational components would increase the number of daily living tasks completed per week. In addition, data will be collected to systematically examine if this intervention will improve overall adaptive behavior, mental health, quality of life, and academics.


Participants included three adults between 18 and 26 years diagnosed with ASD according to DSM-5 criteria. Participants were full time students in a four-year university, had average intellectual functioning, and demonstrated difficulties in daily living skills.

A multiple baseline across participants with reversals design was used, in which a baseline condition with a self-management daily living checklist without peer-mediation was compared to a peer-mediated intervention condition where individualized prompts were provided to complete the self-management daily living checklist.

The primary dependent measure was the total number of daily living tasks completed per week. Additionally, secondary data was collected for the following measures pre and post intervention: (1) Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales- 3rd Edition (2) Beck Depression Inventory-II; (3) Beck Anxiety Inventory; (4) Quality of Life Assessment for Adults with ASD; and (5) quarterly grade reports.


Preliminary data from two participants suggest that a peer-mediated daily living checklist intervention is effective in increasing frequency of daily living skills in college students with ASD. At baseline, Participant 1 completed an average of 5 tasks per week. After the peer-mediated intervention began, Participant 1 increased the number of completed tasks to an average of 13.5 tasks per week. At baseline, within the context of a reversal design, Participant 2 completed an average of 13.5, 20, and 24 tasks per week, respectively. After the intervention began within the reversal design, Participant 2 increased the number of completed tasks to an average of 33, 30, and 40 tasks per week, respectively. Preliminary data show medium to large effect sizes. Follow up data will be completed one month after the completion of the intervention. Additional analyses will confirm these findings in three participants and across pre-post measures.


Preliminary results show promise that this peer-mediated intervention may be more effective in improving daily living skills among college students with ASD than without peer-mediation. The results suggest that future research on improving daily living skills for college students with ASD may be highly profitable.