Improving Daily Living Skills in College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Peer-Mediated Daily Living Checklist Intervention
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 percentage of targeted daily living tasks completed per week. In addition, data was 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 at least one domain of daily living skills as measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales- 3rd Edition (VABS-3).
A multiple baseline across participants design was used, where a baseline condition with a self-management daily living checklist without peer-mediation was compared to a peer-mediated intervention condition where individualized prompts are provided to complete the self-management daily living checklist. Participants were randomized to each baseline condition.
The primary dependent measure is the percentage of targeted daily living tasks completed per week. Additionally, secondary data was collected for the following measures pre and post intervention: (1) VABS-3 (2) Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II); (3) Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI); (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 (See Figure 1). At baseline, Participant 1 completed an average of 24% of targeted tasks per week. After the peer-mediated intervention began, Participant 1 increased the percentage of total targeted tasks to an average of 65%, which was maintained at one-month follow up. At baseline, Participant 2 completed an average 29% of targeted tasks per week. Preliminary data shows that Participant 2 is increasing in percentage of completed tasks, with an average of 78%. 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 is likely to be successful.