Palmer, S., Wehmeyer, M., Shogren, K., Williams-Diehm, K., & Soukup, J. (2012). An evaluation of the beyond high school model on the self- determination of students with intellectual disability. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35(2), 76-84. doi: 10.1177/0885728811432165
Students with intellectual disability are often served in community-based services to promote effective adult outcomes in employment, community inclusion, and independent living (Gaumer, Morningstar & Clark (2004). Beyond High School(Wehmeyer, Garner, Lawrence, Yeager, & Davis, 2006), a multi-stage model to promote student involvement in educational planning, was effectively used by 109 students with mild and moderate levels of intellectual disability between 17.8 and 21 years of age to increase student abilities. Results are discussed in regard to improved transition opportunities for individuals with intellectual disability such as those afforded through post-secondary education.
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Migliore, A., Timmons, J., Butterworth, J., & Lugas, J. (2012). Predictors of employment and postsecondary education of youth with autism.Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 55(3), 176-184. doi: 10.1177/0034355212438943
Using logistic and multiple regressions, the authors investigated predictors of employment and postsecondary education outcomes of youth with autism in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. Data were obtained from the RSA911 data set, fiscal year 2008. Findings showed that the odds of gaining employment were greater for youth who received job placement services, yet only 48% of youth received this service. In addition, postsecondary education was among the strongest predictors of better earnings, yet only 10% of youth received college services. The authors recommended providing job placement services and college services to more youth with autism. At the same time, due to the relatively moderate effect sizes of these regression models, they recommend investigating additional variables currently not included in the RSA911 data set.
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Fleming, A., & Fairweather, J. (2012). The role of postsecondary education in the path from high school to work for youth with disabilities. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 55(2), 71-81. doi: 10.1177/0034355211423303
Youth with disabilities lag behind their peers in participating in postsecondary education, which adversely affects employment options and career earnings. Yet little is known about factors affecting participation. Particularly problematic is the relative importance of disability-related factors—the primary focus of special education and services—and traditional predictors of college going, such as parental education, economic resources, and academic achievement in high school. This study found that for youth with disabilities, the traditional predictors of college going are more important than disability-related factors for enrolling in universities; disability-related factors are slightly more important for enrolling in postsecondary vocational education. A discussion of implications for service planning and implementation is presented.
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Eskow, K., Pineles, L. and Summers, J. A. (2011), Exploring the Effect of Autism Waiver Services on Family Outcomes. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 8: 28–35. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-1130.2011.00284.x
This study examined the effect of services provided through Maryland’s Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver for children with autism on several outcomes related to families, specifically family quality of life (FQoL) and employment. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the services provided through the Maryland autism waiver on families’ perceived quality of life by comparing responses of families receiving waiver services in Maryland with families in the same state who were on the registry (i.e., a waiting list) for waiver services. An invitation letter and Internet-based survey were sent out to 723 waiver recipients and 2,298 families on the wait-list registry by the state’s agency administering the waiver program. Some 861 surveys (229 waiver, 632 registry) were returned, yielding an overall response rate of 28.8% (31.6% waiver, 27.5% registry). Both study groups reported lower satisfaction with FQoL and the majority of respondents in both groups reported that having a child with autism affected their employment. However, the findings suggest that families of children with autism who currently receive services through the waiver report higher FQoL than those not receiving services through the waiver. The authors note that there needs to be additional research to fully understand the most effective features of the waiver, including whether and how waiver programs make a difference in families’ quality of life, health, and participation in school, work and leisure activities, and the effect of self-determination on these outcomes.
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Darling, C. A., Senatore, N. and Strachan, J. (2012), Fathers of Children with Disabilities: Stress and Life Satisfaction. Stress and Health, 28: 269–278. doi: 10.1002/smi.1427
As the role of fathers within families continues to evolve, understanding how these changes impact life satisfaction is needed. This is especially relevant for fathers who have children with disabilities; therefore, this study sought to understand the group differences between fathers of children with and without disabilities. A survey design was used that involved 85 fathers of children with disabilities and 121 fathers of children without disabilities. Analyses indicated that fathers of children with disabilities experienced greater stress in daily parenting hassles, family life events and changes, parenting stress and health stress. In comparison, fathers with children who did not have disabilities had a higher level of coping and greater satisfaction with life. A path-analysis model based on family stress theory indicated that whether or not fathers had children who were disabled was a major contributor to life satisfaction followed by parenting stress and stress from family life events and changes. These findings provide implications for future research and practice.
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Samuel, P. S., Hobden, K. L., LeRoy, B. W. and Lacey, K. K. (2012), Analysing family service needs of typically underserved families in the USA. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 56: 111–128. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01481.x
Background Present day service systems evolved from the traditional model of disability intervention where the child with the disability and the family were viewed as pathological entities that needed to be fixed rather than supported. Scholars have increasingly called for a greater focus on the family in service delivery, but few studies have empirically examined the practical reality of such a shift. The present paper examines the disability-related formal service supports within the family quality of life (FQOL) framework in a sample of predominantly low-income, minority families in the USA.
Methods Cross-sectional data collected from a convenience sample of 149 families using the Family Quality of Life Survey (FQOLS-2006) was analysed at the univariate, bivariate and multivariate levels.
Results Over half of the families indicated that they needed more help from the service system, and the largest barrier to accessing services was a lack of information. Almost all families viewed service support as very important to their overall FQOL; however, only half of them were satisfied with the formal support that they were receiving. Less than half of the families reported having many service support opportunities and high attainment of service support, although most took high initiative in pursuing formal supports. The path model illustrated the complex inter-relationships between the six dimensions of service support.
Conclusions Findings underscore the need for resources to empower families and the value of using the FQOLS-2006 to ascertain the service support needs and strengths of families.
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Flanagan, J., Landa, R., Bhat, A., & Bauman, M. (2012). Head lag in infants at risk for autism: A preliminary study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), 577-585. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.004192
OBJECTIVE. Poor postural control during pull-to-sit is a predictor of developmental disruption in cerebral palsy and preterm populations but has not been examined in infants at risk for autism. We examined the association between head lag during pull-to-sit at age 6 mo and autism risk status.
METHOD. High-risk participants were siblings of children with autism. We studied one sample of 40 high-risk infants prospectively from 6–36 mo and obtained diagnostic classifications of autism or no autism. We conducted a subsequent between-group comparison with a new sample of 20 high-risk and 21 low-risk infants.
RESULTS. Head lag was significantly associated with autism spectrum disorder at 36 mo (p = .020) and was more frequently observed in high-risk than in low-risk infants (p = .018).
CONCLUSION. Head lag with other alterations in early development may be associated with autism risk and may serve as an early indicator of neurodevelopmental disruption. Results have clinical implications for occupational therapists in early intervention practice.
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Key, A. P. F. and Stone, W. L. (2012), Same but Different: 9-Month-Old Infants at Average and High Risk for Autism Look at the Same Facial Features but Process Them Using Different Brain Mechanisms. Autism Res, 5: 253–266. doi: 10.1002/aur.1231
The study examined whether 9-month-old infants at average vs. high risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) process facial features (eyes, mouth) differently and whether such differences are related to infants’ social and communicative skills. Eye tracking and visual event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in 35 infants (20 average-risk typical infants, 15 high-risk siblings of children with ASD) while they viewed photographs of a smiling unfamiliar female face. On 30% of the trials, the eyes or the mouth of that face was replaced with corresponding features from a different female. There were no group differences in the number, duration, or distribution of fixations, and all infants looked at the eyes and mouth regions equally. However, increased attention to the mouth was associated with weaker receptive communication skills and increased attention to the eyes correlated with better interpersonal skills. ERP results revealed that all infants detected eye and mouth changes but did so using different brain mechanisms. Changes in facial features were associated with changes in activity of the face perception mechanisms (N290) for the average-risk group but not for the high-risk infants. For all infants, correlations between ERP and eye-tracking measures indicated that larger and faster ERPs to feature changes were associated with fewer fixations on the irrelevant regions of stimuli. The size and latency of the ERP responses also correlated with parental reports of receptive and expressive communication skills, suggesting that differences in brain processing of human faces are associated with individual differences in social-communicative behaviors.
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Zimmer, M., Hart, L., Manning-Courtney, P., Murray, D., Bing, N., & Summer, S. (2012). Food variety as a predictor of nutritional status among children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(4), 549-556. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1268-z
The frequency of selective eating and nutritional deficiency was studied among 22 children with autism and an age matched typically developing control group. Children with autism ate fewer foods on average than typically developing children. (33.5 vs. 54.5 foods, P < .001) As compared to typical controls, children with autism had a higher average intake of magnesium, and lower average intake of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. Selective eaters were significantly more likely than typical controls to be at risk for at least one serious nutrient deficiency (P < .001).
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Mazurek, M., & Wenstrup, C. (2012). Television, video game and social media use among children with asd and typically developing siblings. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1659-9
This study examined the nature of television, video game, and social media use in children (ages 8–18) with autism spectrum disorders (ASD, n = 202) compared to typically developing siblings (TD, n = 179), and relative to other activities. Parents completed measures assessing children’s screen-based and other extracurricular activities. Children with ASD spent approximately 62 % more time watching television and playing video games than in all non-screen activities combined. Compared with TD siblings, children with ASD spent more hours per day playing video games (2.4 vs. 1.6 for boys, and 1.8 vs. 0.8 for girls), and had higher levels of problematic video game use. In contrast, children with ASD spent little time using social media or socially interactive video games.
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