Overview and Preliminary Evidence for a Social Skills and Self-Care Curriculum for Adolescent Females with Autism: The Girls Night Out Model
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A majority of social skills research in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and interventions target school age males and no published studies target adolescent females with ASD or related disabilities. Females with ASD are at risk for internalizing symptoms, and experience greater challenges in socialization and communication as social demands become increasingly complex in adolescence. This paper provides a thorough description of a social skills and self-care program designed to address the specific needs of adolescent females with ASD. The approach is peer mediated and occurs within natural or community settings to facilitate generalization. Findings from program evaluation data collected across 4 years illustrate significant improvements in perceived social competence, self-perception, and quality of life and suggests the approach is feasible and social valid.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder Females with autism Intervention Social skills
We are grateful to Liesl Edwards, Ph.D. for her support in preparing this manuscript. This research was supported in part by grants from the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training, and an Autism Speaks Family Services Grant. We also acknowledge Mallorey Marek for her assistance in preparing this manuscript.
This study was funded by in part by a Family Services grant from Autism Speaks; pilot grant from the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training at the University of Kansas and a Trailblazer award from the University of Kansas Medical Center.
Author 1 conceptualized, designed and developed iterations of the GNO program, as well as program evaluations related to program implementation. Author 2 was trained in and coordinated elements of the GNO program as conceptualized by Author 1, and participated in data collection and analysis related to some elements of program evaluation, as well as construction of and revisions of manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Author A declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author B declares that she has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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