Project Detail
Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) logo
Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) logo

Treatment as usual and peer engagement in teens with high functioning autism  

Impairment in the ability to interact socially is the hallmark feature of teens with High Functioning Autism (HFA). While these individuals have cognitive skills at or above the average range, social and emotional development lags behind. Few interventions and supports are available to these adolescents, putting them at risk for depression and anxiety and often leading them to experience marginalization within their peer group and community. To improve these teens' core deficit in social skills, several clinical interventions have been designed to improve social relationships. However, these interventions have not been found to be effective in changing peer relationships and engagement in the teen's natural environment. Thus, there continues to be a pressing need for evidence-based and cost-effective treatments that foster generalization of social skills from the treatment space to the real world. This study aims to address this gap by refining and examining two treatment approaches: a school based/peer mediated program and a second "treatment as usual" program which consists of a community based social skills group intervention. In a sample of 60 teens with ASD in 3 participating school districts and 60 teens with ASD enrolled in a community based social skills program, treatment efficacy will be assessed through pre- and post-intervention assessment of social skills. A secondary aim is to explore the role that individual characteristics, such as language ability and co-occurring psychiatric conditions, may play in successful acquisition and generalizability of learned skills. This work will help develop treatment guidelines that inform these teens, their families, and intervention professionals about important treatment targets, active ingredients of treatment strategies, meaningful outcomes of intervention, and improving the prospect for effective matching of treatment to the unique characteristics of the individual. Project Status


Funder National Institutes of Health
Fiscal Year Funding $374,644.00
Current Award Period 2009-2011
Project Number 5R01HD065291-02
Principal Investigator Orlich, Felice
Received ARRA Funding? Yes
Strategic Plan Question Question 6: What Does the Future Hold, Particularly for Adults? (Lifespan)
Subcategory N/A
Strategic Plan Objective Yellow dot: Objective has some degree of funding, but less than the recommended amount. 6LC. Conduct comparative effectiveness research that includes a cost-effectiveness component to examine community-based interventions, services, and supports to improve health outcomes and quality of life for adults on the ASD spectrum over age 21 by 2018. Topics should include: o Community housing for people with ASD; o Successful life transitions for people with ASD, including from post-secondary education to adult services, employment, sibling relationships, and day programs; and o Meeting the service and support needs of older adults with ASD. IACC Recommended Budget: $6,000,000 over 5 years.
Federal or Private? Federal
Institution Seattle Children's Hospital
State/Country Washington
Web Link 1 Treatment as usual and peer engagement in teens with high functioning autism (External web link)
Web Link 2 No URL available.
Web Link 3 No URL available.
New! History/Related Projects Treatment as usual and peer engagement in teens with high functioning autism | $397,852.00 | 2009 | 1R01HD065291-01