Daily Living Skills Intervention for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder

Pilot RCT of a Daily Living Skills Intervention for Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Last 2 Years of High School


Lead Sponsor: Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati

Collaborator: United States Department of Defense

Source Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati
Brief Summary

The main objective of the current proposal is to conduct a pilot RCT (i.e., treatment group and social skills control group) to examine how participation in Surviving and Thriving in the Real World (STRW) Intervention affects proximal outcomes with a larger sample size (n = 72). As social skills, executive functioning, and parenting factors have been linked to the acquisition of Daily Living Skills (DLS), the current study will also explore how these are linked to participation in STRW. Lastly, goal attainment scaling (GAS) will be utilized, along with gold standard parent report and adolescent self-report measures, to assess DLS.

Detailed Description

Individuals with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are not developing the skills necessary to successfully transition from adolescence to college, employment, and independent living. Daily living skills have been linked to positive adult outcome in individuals with ASD. Despite the importance of daily living skills to adult outcome, adolescents with high functioning ASD have impaired daily living skills. A complex set of environmental, individual, and family factors likely affect the ability of adolescents with high functioning ASD to acquire critical daily living skills. There are currently no evidence-based daily living skills intervention packages for adolescents with high functioning ASD that would prepare them for independence in adulthood. The pilot RCT will consist of running 4 cohorts of 16-20 high functioning adolescents with ASD (IQ>70) and their parents in a STRW treatment group or social skills control group. Once an eligible cohort of 16-20 adolescents with ASD has been recruited, adolescents will be randomly assigned to either the STRW group or control group using a stratified randomized block design with IQ as a strata variable (IQ<85 and IQ>85) to ensure balanced group assignment for each cohort. Approximately 8-10 adolescents with ASD and their parents will participate in each STRW group. Thus, across 4 cohorts, the goal will be to enroll at least a total of 72 adolescents in the study, 36 in the STRW group and 36 in the control group across Years 1-3. To test Aim 1: Initially a two-sample t-test will be used to test the difference on the change scores in the Vineland-3 DLS domain and GAS (post-treatment and baseline) between the STRW and control groups. Although this is a randomized study it is possible that some of the demographic variables might be differentially distributed between the groups. In this case, the initial analysis will be followed by a general linear regression analysis where cohort will be treated as the main effect and other differentially distributed variables will be added to the model as possible confounders in order to investigate the independent effect of the intervention group on outcome. To test Aim 2: The within-subject change between post-treatment and 6-month follow-up for each individual receiving the intervention will be calculated and a paired t-test will be conducted to evaluate this change (post-treatment and 6-month follow-up). To test Aim 3: Exploratory analyses will be conducted to examine the relationship between progress in DLS and executive functioning, social skills, and parenting and family factors. A regression analysis will be used to estimate and examine this potential relationship. In this model the change score (post-treatment and baseline) will be modeled as a function of each of the measures of executive function, social skills and parenting and family factors. This will allow us to characterize the response profile.

Overall Status Recruiting
Start Date 2018-05-17
Completion Date 2023-08-31
Primary Completion Date 2022-06-30
Phase N/A
Study Type Interventional
Primary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, 3rd Edition Though Study Completion, about 2 years
Enrollment 72

Intervention Type: Behavioral

Intervention Name: Surviving and Thriving in the Real World

Description: The STRW intervention consists of 14 weekly concurrent adolescent and parent group sessions. The DLS to be targeted in the intervention include: Morning Routine (i.e., completing a morning personal hygiene routine); Laundry (i.e., sorting clothing, using a washing machine and dryer, and folding and putting clothes away); Kitchen/Cooking (i.e., cooking items in the microwave, oven, and stove, safe kitchen practices, cleaning up the kitchen after cooking, and grocery shopping); Self-Management (i.e., managing worry and stress related to learning DLS and transitioning to adulthood); and Money Management (i.e., using money to purchase items, evaluating the quality and price of items, understanding and using a checking and savings account, and budgeting money to cover expenses).

Arm Group Label: STRW

Intervention Type: Behavioral

Intervention Name: Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills

Description: PEERS is an evidence-based social skills training program for youth with social challenges between the ages of 13-18.The program includes a teen group and a parent group that meet concurrently. Teens learn about conversations, electronic communication, joining groups, humor, handling teasing and disagreements, and planning get-togethers with other teens. Parents learn how to coach their teens to continue to use the skills when the program is complete.

Arm Group Label: PEERS



Inclusion Criteria: - in the last 2 years of high school - diagnosis of ASD based on clinical judgement and/or meeting the cut-off score on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition - full scale IQ of 70 or above as measured by the Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales, 5th Edition - deficient Daily Living Skills as assessed by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, 3rd Edition - at least 1 of the 3 Daily Living Skills subdomains is at least 15 points below their full scale IQ Exclusion Criteria: - significant aggressive behaviors or mental health issues that require treatment out of the scope of the current intervention. - if the adolescent has already completed the social skills group (PEERS), either at Cincinnati Children's or in another setting, unless it has been a significant amount of time since they did the PEERS group (2-3 years, or up to the discretion of the PI).



Minimum Age:

15 Years

Maximum Age:

22 Years

Healthy Volunteers:


Overall Official
Last Name Role Affiliation
Amie M Duncan, Ph.D. Principal Investigator Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati
Overall Contact

Last Name: Carrie T Fassler

Phone: 513-803-3580

Email: [email protected]

Facility: Status: Contact: Investigator: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Carrie T Fassler 513-803-3580 [email protected] Amie M Duncan, Ph.D. Principal Investigator
Location Countries

United States

Verification Date


Responsible Party

Type: Sponsor

Has Expanded Access No
Condition Browse
Number Of Arms 2
Arm Group

Label: STRW

Type: Experimental

Description: Participants will receive the daily living skills intervention, Surviving and Thriving in the Real World (STRW).

Label: PEERS

Type: Active Comparator

Description: Participants will receive a social skills intervention, Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS).

Patient Data No
Study Design Info

Allocation: Randomized

Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment

Intervention Model Description: Randomized Clinical Trial - A study in which the participants are divided by chance into separate groups that compare different treatments or other interventions.

Primary Purpose: Treatment

Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)

Masking Description: Coordinator who is assessing goals of participants id masked from knowing which group each participant was randomized to.

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