Psychology in the Schools : Adolescents and Adults on the Autism Spectrum (Novembre 2013)

mercredi 13 novembre 2013

La revue Psychology in the Schools consacre entièrement son numéro de novembre 2013 à l’autisme chez les adolescents et les adultes.

Adolescents and Adults on the Autism Spectrum

1. Wilczynski SM. Introduction to the special issue : adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):863-865.

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2. Tullis CA, Zangrillo AN. Sexuality education for adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):866-875.

As people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) mature from adolescents into adults, social deficits may become more pronounced and apparent in new areas (e.g., social functioning and sexuality). Like neurotypicals, sexuality may be directly related to quality of life for people with ASD. Current practice for addressing sexuality in the ASD population includes some curricula that may be beneficial for teaching skills related to sexuality, but the scientific support for such curricula is absent. Typically sexuality education is only implemented when a behavior is demonstrated that is considered deviant or problematic. Although reactive education may be a common practice, a strategy that includes proactive sexuality education may be more beneficial for the long-term quality of life for people with ASD. The current paper will highlight some of the areas for further investigation and program development for adolescents and adults with ASD.

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3. Wilczynski SM, Trammell B, Clarke LS. Improving employment outcomes among adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):876-887.

As the number of diagnosed cases of ASD increases, school professionals must consider not only efficacious teaching approaches for improving academic goals, but also what systems must be in place to address one of the most important jobs of the school systems : preparing capable citizens. For more than 160 years, schools have been tasked with preparing good citizens who are capable of contributing to society through work. Given the fact that schools have been required to provide appropriate educational programming to students with disabilities for decades and that this includes planning for the transition to adulthood, the staggeringly poor employment outcomes of individuals on the autism spectrum should be a cause for concern. The present article reviews the significant problem of unemployment as well as employment supports for individuals with ASD. These supports include both the natural supports (scaffolding to enhance success in obtaining and maintaining employment) as well as technological advances that may minimize ostracization in the workplace. Lastly, recommendations for school psychologists who seek to play a vital role in this critical area are offered.

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4. Carter EW, Harvey MN, Taylor JL, Gotham K. Connecting youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorders to community life. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):888-898.

Equipping youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to flourish during and after high school is central to the purpose and practice of special education. However, many students with ASD are leaving high school without the preparation and connections needed to engage meaningfully in their communities. This article reviews research-based approaches for connecting adolescents with ASD to life beyond the classroom by describing promising practices for fostering inclusion in postsecondary education and community activities. Recognizing that relationships are at the core of community life, emphasis is placed on fostering social connections as an essential aspect of helping young people with ASD thrive in these settings. We conclude with suggestions for school staff to support the successful transitions of young people with ASD.

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5. Koegel LK, Ashbaugh K, Koegel RL, Detar WJ, Regester A. Increasing socialization in adults with asperger’s syndrome. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):899-909.

Difficulties engaging in social activities are considered to be a core symptom of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Both the literature and our clinical observations suggest that most individuals with ASD have a desire to engage in social activities, but social skill deficits make social interaction challenging, and in turn can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Currently there are few resources to support adult students with ASD in forming friendships and involvement in the college community. Using a multiple baseline design over a 33-week period, this study evaluated the effectiveness of structured social planning for college students with ASD. Intervention included weekly sessions that included providing step-by-step social planning related to their interests, and feedback regarding their participation in social activities. In addition, training in specific organizational skills was implemented, such as determining activities, using a planner to ensure participation in the activities, inviting peers to activities, arranging for transportation, and so on. Results demonstrated that participants were not attending any social events throughout the baseline period. Following intervention, all participants increased the number of social events attended per week. Further, quality of life and satisfaction questionnaires all reported a higher satisfaction with their college experience and peer interactions following intervention. Finally, improvements were seen in other untargeted areas, including increases in non-structured social interactions, improvements in grade point averages, and employment. Results are discussed in regards to a creating a social support program for college students with ASD.

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6. Rubenstein LD, Pierson EE, Wilczynski SM, Connolly SC. Fitting the high ability program to the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):910-922.

As the number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders grows, leaders are increasingly recognizing the limitations of the existing literature base to serve unique subsets of students on the spectrum. To date, there is a dearth of research regarding individuals who are both diagnosed on the spectrum and identified as gifted or high ability. This article provides a theoretical structure to guide professionals working with this population, as well as recommendations for further research. The High Ability/Autism puzzle includes three interlocking pieces that must be connected. First, this population must be appropriately defined, and then second, that definition must guide how professionals identify members of this population. Third, identification methods must inform the educational programming decisions to best serve the High Ability/Autism population. The definition, identification, and available programs must be interrelated to provide appropriate support and guidance for this unique population. This article will outline this process and make recommendations for both practitioners and researchers committed to gifted individuals on the spectrum.

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7. Scattone D, Mong M. Cognitive behavior therapy in the treatment of anxiety for adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):923-935.

Important areas of treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have only begun to be explored empirically in the last decade. Fortunately, there has been growing interest in identifying how to best adapt treatments that have been demonstrated to be efficacious with broader populations to individuals with ASD. This article provides a review of the literature for cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders with modifications for adolescents and adults diagnosed with ASD. The majority of these studies incorporated manualized procedures, structured sessions, visual aids, use of worksheets, and an opportunity for social engagement, in addition to regular practice and feedback within a supportive environment. Treatment has been provided primarily in groups ; however, researchers are beginning to explore the advantages of individualized treatment. Although only a handful of studies have been published on the use of CBT with adolescents or adults with ASD, results are promising. School psychologists will want to familiarize themselves with this literature to best meet the needs of students in their care. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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8. Trammell B, Wilczynski SM, Dale B, McIntosh DE. Assessment and differential diagnosis of comorbid conditions in adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):936-946.

Successful treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is entirely contingent on an accurate diagnosis. Although many resources exist to help the clinician with differential diagnosis of children, particularly in early childhood, the resources available for evaluating adolescents and adults is far less prevalent. Clinicians often rely on multiple forms of data from numerous sources to make accurate diagnoses, which for adults is a complex process. Lack of availability of instruments that have been normed with individuals with ASD creates limitations for the clinician. In addition, gathering background information from adolescents and adults on the spectrum can be challenging for a number of reasons, including poor self-reporting and poor memory for events from parents or caregivers. To further complicate the matter, comorbid conditions become more and more common as the individual with ASD goes through adolescence and adulthood. This article aims to identify the challenges related to the evaluation of adolescents and adults with ASD, noting particular attention to the differential diagnosis of common comorbid conditions. Recommendations for how to conduct a thorough psychological evaluation with an adolescent or adult with an ASD are made.

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9. Rue HC, Knox M. Capacity building : evidence-based practice and adolescents on the autism spectrum. Psychology in the Schools ;2013 ;50(9):947-956.

Empirical research in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has resulted in the identification of numerous evidence-based interventions (EBIs). Adolescents with an ASD are faced with unique academic challenges, complex social environments, and physiological changes. They often require interventions to aid in acclimating to their evolving social environments and physical changes. One of the many challenges for practitioners working with adolescents is turning research findings into practice. We provide a framework to build capacity within a middle or high-school setting to implement EBIs for adolescent students with an ASD. Key elements of implementing EBIs in the school setting include : developing a team of professionals dedicated to achieving a system change, a systematic plan, monitoring progress, and a plan for sustainability. Teacher training is an essential part of implementing EBIs in an educational setting. Empirical evidence suggests that teacher training consists of different strategies including in-vivo training. Accessing resources outside of the school system, such as professionals at universities and teaching hospitals, can aid in training and other aspects of implementing EBIs in the classroom.

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