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Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program

Abstract

The present study examines the efficacy and durability of the PEERS Program, a parent-assisted social skills group intervention for high-functioning adolescents with ASD. Results indicate that teens receiving PEERS significantly improved their social skills knowledge, social responsiveness, and overall social skills in the areas of social communication, social cognition, social awareness, social motivation, assertion, cooperation, and responsibility, while decreasing autistic mannerisms and increasing the frequency of peer interactions. Independent teacher ratings revealed significant improvement in social skills and assertion from pre-test to follow-up assessment. Examination of durability of improvement revealed maintenance of gains in nearly all domains with additional treatment gains at a 14-week follow-up assessment.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Clare Gorospe, Jilly Chang, Jennifer Sanderson, Ruth Ellingsen, Shannon Bates, Martha Wang, Jin Lee, Bobbie Celaya, Anett Abrahamian, Amanda Lenvin, Cordelia Ross, and Jennifer McNamara for their valuable assistance on this study. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the families who participated in this study. This research was supported by NIMH Grant U54-MH-068172, Marian Sigman, Principal Investigator. The writing of this paper was partially supported by NIMH Grant #1U54MH068172, Fred Frankel, Project Principal Investigator. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth A. Laugeson.

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Laugeson, E.A., Frankel, F., Gantman, A. et al. Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program. J Autism Dev Disord 42, 1025–1036 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1339-1

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Keywords

  • Social skills
  • Autism
  • Asperger’s Disorder
  • PEERS
  • Friendship
  • Adolescents