Youth with Autism Show Improved Social Function After UCLA Skills Program
[Source: Medical News Today]
Gains from ‘PEERS’ training persist 16 weeks later
Researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA have found that a social skills program for high-functioning young adults with autism spectrum disorder significantly improved the participants’ ability to engage with their peers.
In the study, the largest randomized controlled trial to show improved social functioning in young adults with autism, the participants’ advances continued to be seen 16 weeks after the program’s conclusion, and were even augmented by other improvements such as increased empathy and greater responsibility.
The study (PDF), which builds on previous findings showing the effectiveness of UCLA’s Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, or PEERS, appears in a special issue of the online Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
“There is still a misconception that autism is a childhood disorder,” said Elizabeth Laugeson, the founder and director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute and the study’s principal investigator. “It’s as if we’ve forgotten that these children grow up to be adults with their own unique challenges that very often affect their ability to be gainfully employed or establish meaningful friendships and romantic relationships.
Read the Rest of this Article on Medical News Today
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