Website: The Arc: Wings for Autism

Wings for Autism™, a program of The Arc, is an airport “rehearsal” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, their families and aviation professionals. Designed to alleviate some of the stress that families who have a child with autism experience when traveling by air, the program provides families with the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtain boarding passes, go through security and board a plane. National expansion of Wings for Autism is being administered by The Arc of the United States and in the future will be available for implementation at airports throughout the country.

View the Website – Wings for Autism

Research Article: Fostering self-determination through building productive relationships in the classroom

Field, S., & Hoffman, A. (2012). Fostering self-determination through building productive relationships in the classroom. Intervention in School and Clinic, 48(1), 6-14. doi: 10.1177/1053451212443150

ABSTRACT:

Self-determination is essential to promoting successful transitions for students with and without disabilities. Numerous studies have found that positive relationships are central to the ability to be self-determined, thus making relationship building a key area to address to promote successful transitions. This article provides information on strategies, classroom modifications, and curricula that can be used to help students improve their ability to build an increased sense of belonging through positive relationships with others. Strategies are discussed within the context of self-determination to demonstrate how students can increase their ability to establish and maintain positive relationships and their self-determination concurrently.

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Research Article: Creating social opportunities for students with autism spectrum disorder in inclusive settings

Hart, J., & Whalon, K. (2011). Creating social opportunities for students with autism spectrum disorder in inclusive settings. Intervention in School and Clinic, 46(5), 273-279. doi: 10.1177/1053451210395382

ABSTRACT:

Increasing numbers of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are being included in general education settings. Learners with ASD can benefit from the general education curriculum, with some achieving at a high academic level. Yet, social communication and behavioral difficulties can present challenges to their successful inclusion. Instructional priorities for children with ASD include social communication interventions that teach children how to spontaneously initiate functional communication in academic and social contexts. This article describes evidence-based strategies that will help educators create opportunities for social interaction for students with ASD in the context of naturally occurring classroom activities and routines.

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Research Article: Positive outcomes following participation in a music intervention for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum

Hillier, A., Greher, G., Poto, N., & Dougherty, M. (2011). Positive outcomes following participation in a music intervention for adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum. Psychology of Music, 40(2), 201-215. doi: 10.1177/0305735610386837

ABSTRACT:

Music interventions are frequently utilized with those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and have shown a range of benefits. However, empirical evaluations are lacking and would be a timely step forward in the field. Here we report the findings of our pilot music program for adolescents and young adults with ASD. Evaluation of the program focused on self-esteem, anxiety, and attitudes toward and relationships with peers as these are pervasive challenges for those with ASD. Pre- and post-outcome measures showed a significant increase in self-esteem, reduced self-reported anxiety, and more positive attitudes toward peers. Weekly measures taken pre- and post-each session also showed a significant reduction in self-reported ratings of anxiety. These findings provide some initial empirical support for the efficacy of music participation in treating some of the core challenges seen in ASD.

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Research Article: Sleep problems in children with autism spectrum problems: a longitudinal population-based study

Sivertsen, B., Posserud, M., Gillberg, C., Lundervold, A., & Hysing, M. (2012). Sleep problems in children with autism spectrum problems: a longitudinal population-based study. Autism, 16(2), 139-150. doi: 10.1177/1362361311404255

ABSTRACT:

This study examined the prevalence and chronicity of sleep problems in children who manifest problems believed to be typical of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Using data from a longitudinal total population study, symptoms of ASD, insomnia and potential explanatory factors were assessed at ages 7–9 and 11–13. Children were included in a group defined as having Autism Spectrum Problems (ASP) if they scored above a strict threshold on the Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ). Twenty-eight (0.8%) of 3700 children fulfilled the selected criteria for ASP at both waves, and the prevalence of chronic insomnia was more than ten times higher in these children compared to the controls. Children with ASP developed more sleep problems over time, with an incidence rate at wave 2 of 37.5% compared to 8.6% in the controls. The sleep problems were more persistent over time, with a remission rate of 8.3% compared to 52.4% in the controls. ASP was a strong predictor of sleep problems at wave 2 (OR = 12.44), and while emotional and behavioural problems explained a large proportion of this association, the effect of ASP on insomnia remained significant in the fully adjusted model (OR = 3.25). These findings call for increased awareness of sleep problems in children with ASP.

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Research Article: A comparison of picture and video prompts to teach daily living skills to individuals with autism

Laarhoven, T., Kraus, E., Karpman, K., Nizzi, R., & Valentino, J. (2012). A comparison of picture and video prompts to teach daily living skills to individuals with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 25(4), 195-208. doi: 10.1177/1088357610380412

ABSTRACT:

This study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of video prompting and picture prompting when used as antecedents for teaching daily living skills to two adolescents with autism. Participants were taught two different skills, and the effects of the instructional conditions were compared and evaluated using an adapted alternating-treatments design. The results can be interpreted to conclude that video prompting was slightly more effective in terms of independent correct responding, fewer external prompts for task completion, and fewer prompts to use instructional materials. In addition, when efficiency scores were calculated by considering the ratio of each participant’s growth (from pretest to posttest) to the measured “cost” of minutes required to create instructional materials, video prompting was considerably more efficient than picture prompting.

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Research Article: The experience of anxiety in young adults with autism spectrum disorders

Trembath, D., Germano, C., Johanson, G., & Dissanayake, C. (2012). The experience of anxiety in young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, doi: 10.1177/1088357612454916

ABSTRACT:

Anxiety is known to be common among young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), yet little is known about the nature of their experiences or the strategies they use to live and cope with their reported anxiety. In this qualitative study, we began to address this issue through two focus groups involving 11 young adults with ASD, and 10 parents and professionals. Participants in each group were asked to discuss the triggers for anxiety, the consequences of anxiety, and strategies they have used, would like to use, or have seen individuals with ASD use to manage their anxiety. The participants identified multiple personal and environmental sources of anxiety, noting the substantial impact they have on their everyday lives at home, work, university, and in the community. Their individual experiences and strategies for living and coping with anxiety are presented.

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Research Article: Bullying and victimization experiences of students with autism spectrum disorders in elementary schools

Chen, P., & Schwartz, I. (2012). Bullying and victimization experiences of students with autism spectrum disorders in elementary schools. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, doi: 10.1177/1088357612459556

ABSTRACT:

We explored bullying and victimization experienced by third- to fifth-grade students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), by surveying students with ASD, their parents, and their teachers. A total of 25 triads, each including one student with ASD, one of the student’s parents, and one teacher, were involved in data analysis. We found that all three respondent groups reported high prevalence of bullying and victimization experienced by students with ASD. While students with ASD, their parents, and their teachers reported similar victimization scores, teachers reported significantly higher bullying scores than those found in student- and parent-reports. The three respondent groups showed some differences in bullying status of students with ASD. We discuss implications for including students with ASD in bullying prevention and schoolwide models of intervention to improve the quality of life of students with ASD.

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Research Article: High-poverty youth self-determination and involvement in educational planning

Washington, B., Hughes, C., & Cosgriff, J. (2011). High-poverty youth self-determination and involvement in educational planning. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35(1), 14-28. doi: 10.1177/0885728811420135

ABSTRACT:

The authors compared involvement in educational planning and use of self-determination strategies reported by two groups of students attending a high-poverty, predominately Black high school: 19 students with severe intellectual disabilities and 20 general education seniors who were identified as successful. Findings revealed that special education students participated in few activities (e.g., general or career education classes, transition activities, or employment) on a daily basis outside their self-contained special education classes. Special education students were significantly less likely than their general education peers to report involvement in educational planning activities or use of self-determination strategies. Although successful general education peers did take an active and self-determined role in their high school education, they represented only 20 of 114 members of their graduating senior class. Findings are discussed in relation to increasing efforts to promote self-determination and resilience among students with severe intellectual disabilities and their general education peers who are attending high-poverty high schools.

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Research Article: An approach for expanding and connecting opportunities for employment for adolescents with disabilities

Trainor, A., Carter, E., Swedeen, B., & Pickett, K. (2011). An approach for expanding and connecting opportunities for employment for adolescents with disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35(1), 50-60. doi: 10.1177/0885728811419166

ABSTRACT:

Although early work experiences can impart a number of benefits to adolescents with disabilities, few students have meaningful access to these opportunities. The authors examined “community conversations” to build capacity and interest in expanding employment opportunities. Events were held in seven different communities and used the World Café process (Brown & Isaacs, 2005) to facilitate asset-based identification of localized next steps. Observations, analyses of surveys completed by the 239 community members who attended, and examination of artifacts suggested that the events offer a promising avenue for identifying solutions, building social capital, and increasing employment opportunities. The authors offer recommendations for drawing on this approach to harness and build the capacity of communities to support youth in transition, along with directions for future research.

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