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Transition Support Program for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT02439671
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : May 12, 2015
Last Update Posted : May 9, 2017
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Aparna Nadig, McGill University

Brief Summary:
This study investigates a service delivery model to better support young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the transition from school to the community. The effectiveness of the "McGill Transition Support Program", a small-group format intervention (meeting once a week for 2 hours over 10 weeks) focusing on communication, self-determination and working with others skills, is measured by multiple pre- and post-program-assessments in a "staggered enrollment trial", a variant of a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Autism Spectrum Disorder Behavioral: McGill Transition Support Program Not Applicable

Detailed Description:

The difficulties characterizing Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often associated with childhood; however, ASD is a lifespan diagnosis that continues to impact opportunities in the community. There is currently a very significant gap in support services for young adults with ASDs that has grave consequences both for individuals and their families in terms of vocational success and social inclusion and for society as a whole in terms of the financial burden of long-term adult care.

Individuals on the higher end of the autism spectrum do not have intellectual disability and possess good language skills. Yet they often show significant difficulty with applying their skills during demanding social interactions, which is detrimental to their ability to form relationships and navigate interactions in the workplace. In the few studies of outcomes of adults with ASD it is reported that fewer than 5% of adults at the highest end of the spectrum were living independently and only 12% were employed viably. This underscores the tremendous need for targeted services for young adults with ASD without intellectual disability.

The McGill Transition Support Program was developed to target participants' self-expressed needs in communication, self-determination and working with others skills, which have been associated with better quality of life. Besides the intake, pre- and post-program measures sessions, the participants, aged 18 - 30 years, take part in ten 2-hour group meetings. The study design has been termed a "staggered enrollment trial", that is participants were randomly assigned to take part in the program in the next available cycle or to the waiting list for a subsequent cycle. Pre- and post-program assessment include social problem solving stories, quality of life and self-determination measures, a communication task and a needs and skills questionnaire.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 34 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: A Service Delivery Model to Better Support Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Transition From School to the Community
Study Start Date : May 2012
Actual Primary Completion Date : July 2015
Actual Study Completion Date : July 2016

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Immediate intervention
Participant assigned to McGill Transition Support Program in next available session
Behavioral: McGill Transition Support Program

The McGill Transition Support Program is manual-based, including 15 modules of curriculum, five in each of the following domains of skills:

  • Social communication (e.g. listening, perspective taking)
  • Self-determination (e.g. problem-solving, self-advocacy)
  • Working with others (e.g. knowing your context, teamwork)

Nine out of the 15 modules are selected for each group according to the common needs endorsed by participants on a needs assessment questionnaire. Each group consists of 4 adults and two facilitators who were graduate students in Speech Language Pathology or Educational Psychology.

The intervention follows a Self-Determination Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) that considers the individual's strengths and needs in the development of personal goals and plans for one's future. A workbook is used to accompany each module with the aim of having the participants practice and generalize the main content messages.

No Intervention: Waiting List control
Participant assigned to waiting list for one session prior to receiving McGill Transition Support Program in following session

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Social problem-solving task (Channon & Crawford, 2010) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks prior to session, 4-6 weeks after session ]
  2. Change in Arc's Self-Determination Scale (SDS; Wehmeyer & Kelchner, 1995) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks prior to session, 4-6 weeks after session, and 12 month follow-up post-Program ]
  3. Change in Quality of Life Questionnaire (Shalock & Keith, 1993) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks prior to session, abridged version: 4-6 weeks after session and 12 month follow-up post-Program ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Curriculum-specific workbook questions [ Time Frame: every week for 9 weeks at the end of group intervention meetings ]
  2. Participant Program Evaluation Survey (Flanagan & Nadig, 2012) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks after Program and 12 month follow-up post-Program ]
    Questionnaire composed of qualitative (open-ended) questions

  3. Parent Program Evaluation Survey (Flanagan & Nadig, 2012) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks after Program ]
    (Questionnaire composed of quantitative (Likert-type) and qualitative (open-ended) questions)

  4. Questionnaire on vocational, educational and living situation outcomes [ Time Frame: 12 month follow-up post-Program ]
  5. Communication task (Nadig, Vivanti, & Ozonoff, 2009) [ Time Frame: 4-6 weeks prior to session, 4-6 weeks after session ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 30 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • proficient and able to communicate in English
  • between the ages of 18 and 30 years upon entering the study
  • ASD classification according to scores on either or both the Social Communication Questionnaire-Lifetime (SCQ) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS-2, Module 4 revised algorithm)
  • Either or both non-verbal IQ, assessed by Raven's Progressive Matrices, or verbal IQ assessed by Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence, verbal subtests, in the normal range

Exclusion Criteria:

  • current enrollment in another similar transition support service, that is, a group-format service that has the goals of improving the areas of social interaction and communication, self-determination and advocacy, and working with others skills

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT02439671

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Canada, Quebec
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sponsors and Collaborators
McGill University
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Principal Investigator: Aparna Nadig, Ph.D. School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, McGill University
Principal Investigator: Tara Flanagan, Ph.D. Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University

Barnard J, Harvey V, Potter D, Prior A. Ignored or ineligible? The reality for adults with autism spectrum disorders. The National Autistic Society report for Autism Awareness Week. 2001. London: NAS publications.
Flangan T, Nadig A. Transition Support Needs Assessment. 2012
Graetz JE. Autism grows up: opportunities for adults with autism. Disability and Society. 2010;25(1):33-47.
Hendricks DR, Wehman P. Transition from school to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 2009;24(2):77-88.
Levy A, Perry A. Outcomes in adolescents and adults with autism: A review of the literature. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 2011;5(4):1271-1282.
Lord C, Rutter M, DiLavore PC, Risi S. Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). 1999. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Association.
Raven J, Raven JC, Court JH. Manual for Raven's Progressive Matrices and Vocabulary Scales. 2003, updated 2004. San Antonio, TX: Pearson Assessment.
Rutter M, Bailey A, Berument SK, Lord C, Pickles A. Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ). 2003. Los Angeles, CA: Western Psychological Services.
Schalock R, Keith K. Quality of Life Questionnaire. 1993, 2004 Revision. Worthington, OH: IDS Publishing.
Wechsler D. Wechsler Abbreviated Scales of Intelligence (WASI). 1999. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation/Harcourt Assessment.
Wehmeyer ML, Field S. Self-determination: Instructional and assessment strategies. 2007. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Wehmeyer ML. Student self-report measure of self- determination for students with cognitive disabilities. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. 1996;31:282-293.
Wehmeyer ML, Kelchner K. The Arc's Self-Determination Scale. 1995. Arlington, TX: Arc National Headquarters.

Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
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Responsible Party: Aparna Nadig, Ph.D., McGill University Identifier: NCT02439671    
Other Study ID Numbers: Max Bell / McGill x-209094
First Posted: May 12, 2015    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: May 9, 2017
Last Verified: May 2017
Keywords provided by Aparna Nadig, McGill University:
Transition Support Program for young adults
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Autistic Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Child Development Disorders, Pervasive
Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Mental Disorders