Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 377–388 | Cite as

Process Evaluation of the BOOST-A™ Transition Planning Program for Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Strengths-Based Approach

  • Megan Hatfield
  • Marita Falkmer
  • Torbjörn Falkmer
  • Marina Ciccarelli
Original Paper


A process evaluation was conducted to determine the effectiveness, usability, and barriers and facilitators related to the Better OutcOmes & Successful Transitions for Autism (BOOST-A™), an online transition planning program. Adolescents on the autism spectrum (n = 33) and their parents (n = 39) provided feedback via an online questionnaire. Of these, 13 participants were interviewed to gain in-depth information about their experiences. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Four themes were identified: (i) taking action to overcome inertia, (ii) new insights that led to clear plans for the future, (iii) adolescent empowerment through strengths focus, and (iv) having a champion to guide the way. The process evaluation revealed why BOOST-A™ was beneficial to some participants more than others.

Trial registration #ACTRN12615000119594


Asperger’s syndrome Employment High school Pervasive developmental disorder Self-determination theory Vocational education 



The authors wish to thank Professor Sylvia Rodger for her support and supervision in this trial.


An Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship and funding from the Australian Federal Government and Curtin University supported this study. The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.

Authors’ Contribution

MH, MC, TF, MF contributed to the design of the trial. MH collected and analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. MC and MF completed a peer review and verified themes. MH, MC, TF, MF reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

MH developed the BOOST-A and was also the first author of the manuscript which describes the effectiveness of the BOOST-A. The design of the trial has taken this into account in order to minimize bias.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study were granted formal approval from the Curtin University Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number HR110/2014), and by the Catholic Education Offices and the Departments of Education in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania. Informed consent was obtained from all adult participants in the study. For participants under 18 years of age, their parents provided written informed consent and the adolescent provided written informed assent. Names of participants reported in this paper have been replaced with a pseudonym.

Supplementary material

10803_2017_3317_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Occupational Therapy and Social WorkCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC)BrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Education and CommunicationInstitution of Disability Research Jönköping UniversityJönköpingSweden
  4. 4.Department of Medicine and Health Sciences (IHM)Linköping University and Pain and Rehabilitation CentreLinköpingSweden

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