Autism News: Social Skills Training for Young Adults with Autism

Autism News Update:

Effectiveness of Social Skills Training Program (PEERS) Studied in Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders
Research Examines the Effectiveness of the PEERS Program in Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism

Individuals with autism often continue to experience difficulties in social settings as they enter young adulthood.  However, little research involving social skills training programs for young adults with autism has been performed.  Recent research examined the effectiveness of the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS) for young adults ages 18 to 23 with high-functioning autism.  The findings were published in an article titled Social Skills Training for Young Adults with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study.

The researchers utilized a randomized controlled study design.  The study group utilized the PEERS program administered by caregivers.  Results were measured via self-assessment and caregiver-assessment.

PEERS Program Benefits:

The researchers found that young adults who participated in the PEERS program reported improved knowledge in social skills and also reported feeling lonely less frequently.  Caregivers reported observing significant improvements in empathy, social responsiveness, social skills, and spending more time with friends/peers.

The researchers state that the findings suggest that the PEERS social skills training program is an effective instrument in helping young adults with high-functioning autism develop social skills.

The article was epublished on September 14, 2011 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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Autism News: Research Looks at Efficacy of UCLA PEERS Social Skills Program

Autism News Update:

Efficacy of PEERS Social Skills Development and Maintenance of Learned Skills Researched
Research Studies Efficacy of PEERS Program for Development of Social Skills in Autistic Adolescents and Retention of Learned Skills

Several strategies have been employed to help autistic adolescents develop important social skills.  One of these is the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relationship Skills (PEERS).  A recent study attempted to determine how effective the PEERS program is at helping high-functioning autistic teens learn social skills.  It also attempted to determine if the skills learned were maintained by the participants.  The findings of the research were published in an article titled Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program.

The study found that PEERS resulted in the participants engaging in an increased number of interactions with their peers.  The results also showed a decrease in the number of autistic mannerisms displayed during social interactions.

The research also showed significant improvements in the PEERS program participants in the following areas:

  • Assertion
  • Cooperation
  • Responsibility
  • Social Awareness
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Communication
  • Social Motivation
  • Social Skills Responsiveness
  • Social Skills Knowledge

In addition, assessments through teacher evaluations demonstrated significant improvements in assertion and social skills from pre-assessment to the follow-up assessment.

Finally, the research also found that the improvements listed above were maintained in nearly every category.  The participants also experienced additional improvements at a follow-up evaluation 14 weeks later.

The article was epublished on August 20, 2011 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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