Department of Rehabilitation
The Department of Rehabilitation has awarded the Koegel Autism Center with funding to develop and implement methods for supporting individuals with autism in work and university settings. This project will also consist of a large scale dissemination and training in treatment procedures to professionals throughout the state of California.
It has long been a concern that individuals with autism, even those who attend some college, are not adequately prepared to be successful in their preferred careers. To address this issue, we will implement Personal, Vocational, Social Adjustment services and Situational Assessment services to individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. It is our goal to improve the lives of young adults with autism and increase opportunities for success in their socialization, daily living, and career paths.
Please contact the Department of Rehabilitation for help on receiving our services.
Organization for Autism Research
The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) is a national non-profit organization formed and led by relatives of children and adults with autism and Asperger Syndrome. OAR is dedicated to promoting research that can be applied to help families, educators, caregivers, and individuals with autism find much-needed answers to their immediate and urgent questions. This grant will allow the Koegel Autism Center to examine the effectiveness of a peer-facilitated, multicomponent social skills intervention for adolescents on the autism spectrum.
Adolescents with autism (even those considered “high-functioning”) exhibit diverse profiles with varying degrees of impairment to their social motivation, interpersonal understanding, and concrete skill use. These vulnerabilities, left unchecked, can greatly limit their long-term quality of life. The complexity of their social needs requires comprehensive social programming. The proposed randomized wait list-controlled trial will examine the use of a peer-facilitated, multi-component social skills intervention to simultaneously target motivational, conceptual, and skill deficits. This novel group-based intervention includes the use of high-school social facilitators, individualized skill targets, self-management, experiential and didactic components, parent education, and social homework. Social competence improvements will be serially assessed every five weeks using a variety of measures, including naturalistic conversation samples, survey measures, and data on real-world social encounters. Current pilot data suggests that the proposed group intervention will be highly effective in rapidly improving the social skillset of participating adolescents. Such social improvements have obvious practical implications for this population as they start to pursue adult social endeavors, such as developing meaningful friendships, obtaining and keeping suitable employment, and seeking out romantic relationships.
Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, has given a $120,000 grant to the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School in its latest round of funding. The grant will fund research to develop new treatments by tapping non-social interests to engage toddlers. Autism Speaks’ Chief Science Officer Rob Ring says, “The funded work in this group of projects touches upon some of the most important areas of unmet need facing the autism community today.” Read more about the grant here.