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Social Tools And Rules for Teens (The START Program): Program Description and Preliminary Outcomes of an Experiential Socialization Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Author(s): Vernon, Ty W
  • Miller, Amber R
  • Ko, Jordan A
  • Wu, Victoria L
  • et al.
Abstract

Experiential learning is an essential process in the development of core social competencies. Unfortunately, adolescents with autism spectrum disorders often do not possess the prerequisite skillset and motivation to sustain the level of social immersion needed to benefit from this learning process. These persisting social vulnerabilities can limit their long-term relational success and associated quality of life, creating a need for comprehensive social programming. This paper describes a multi-component socialization intervention that simultaneously targets motivational, conceptual, and skill deficits using a hybrid experiential/didactic treatment approach. Evidence of social competence improvements was noted in survey and live conversational measures, indicating that the START program may hold promise as a method for improving the social success of participating adolescents with ASD.

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