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Intervention Study for Autistic Teens in 11th/12th Grades

What's the study about?

Our teams at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill TEACCH are conducting a research study, sometimes known as a clinical trial or clinical study, to learn more about treatments that lead to a successful transition from high school to adulthood for autistic teens. Teens and their caregiver will be randomized to participate in either a weekly social skills intervention or a daily living skills intervention. Teens will be followed until after high school graduation to examine whether these interventions impact outcomes in college, work, independent living, and overall quality of life.

Who can participate?

Teens must meet the following criteria: (1) Have a diagnosis of autism (medical or educational); (2) Be enrolled in the 11th or 12th grade (or deferred graduation); (3) Have an IQ >70; and (4) Have challenges in daily living skills (e.g., personal hygiene, cleaning, cooking, managing money).

The teen’s parent/caregiver will also participate.

What will participants be doing?

This study includes 1 in-person visit to either Cincinnati, Ohio or Chapel Hill, NC lasting approximately 2 hours. If eligible, teens and their caregivers will be randomized to 15-week intervention (daily living skills or social skills) that will be conducted via telehealth (e.g., Zoom). There will also be 3 telehealth outcome assessment visits.

Teens will:
• Complete assessments at baseline, post, 6-month follow-up, and post-high school graduation visits
• Answer questionnaires at each assessment visit
• Attend virtual intervention sessions (15 weeks)
• Complete a phone diary at 3 time points (baseline, post, 6-month follow-up)

Parents/caregivers will:
• Complete interviews with staff at baseline, post, 6-month follow-up, and post-high school graduation visits
• Answer questionnaires at each assessment visit
• Attend virtual intervention sessions (15 weeks)

Caregivers and teens will be given a consent form that thoroughly explains the details of the study. A member of the study staff will review the consent form to make sure that any questions are answered.

Why is this important?

We hope to learn more about how interventions for autistic teens can build skills that are critical for the transition from high school to the adult world. In particular, daily living skills have been linked to a positive outcome in adulthood, so targeting these skills in adolescents may have long lasting effects.

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