Meaning in Measurement: Evaluating Young Autistic Adults' Active Engagement and Expressed Interest in Quality-of-Life Goals
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AbstractThe need for support programs and meaningful measurement of outcomes with autistic adults is growing. To date, success in autism intervention has been defined based on changes in discretely defined, observable behaviors with limited consideration of the person's experience, motivations, or the complex contexts in which these skills are used. Behavioral skill-building interventions are effective at increasing or decreasing specific behaviors, but a purely behavioral focus is not enough for meaningful improvements in adult quality of life (QoL). To reflect real-life impact, intervention and measurement must go beyond quantitative estimates of changes in skills regardless of context of use and focus on enhancing and evaluating functional outcomes and adult QoL that includes active engagement with the adult and provides rigor in qualitative evaluation. This article reports on efforts to assess active engagement of verbally fluent young autistic adults in a supported university-based residential pilot program built around self-set wellness goals for healthy, engaged, responsible, and empowered adult living. Program evaluation used an exploratory process for evaluating QoL learning, while also being open to how future work can discern participant meanings in measurement. The pilot used a mixed-methods approach to measure entry skills and interests, codetermine personal wellness goals, inform program content with participants, and measure QoL learning in terms of active engagement, expressed interest, and changes in self-appraisal of competence, confidence, and identity. Participants' QoL learning, replication of QoL learning measurement methods, and further exploration of strategies to put participant meanings in QoL learning measurement are discussed.
All Author(s) ListJamie B. Bernhardt, Gary Yu Hin Lam, Toni Thomas, Joseph F. Cubells, Kelsey Bohlke, Morganne Reid, Catherine E. Rice
Journal nameAutism in Adulthood
Volume Number2
Issue Number3
PublisherMary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Pages227 - 242
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2021-23-01 at 23:58