Autistic individuals often possess strengths and abilities. Despite these strengths, employment outcomes for this population remain low. Strengths-based programs, focusing on developing skills in a supportive environment, may enable autistic adolescents to more effectively prepare for the workforce. This study explores the principal components and associated outcomes of a strengths-based program designed to support autistic children and adolescents to develop interests and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The baseline results of 52 parents of autistic youth participating in a 3-year longitudinal survey study were explored, with results showing that according to parents the program positively impacted participants’ sense of belonging, confidence and self-esteem, health and well-being, social relationships and interactions, and activities and participation.
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This work was funded by the Ian Potter Foundation (Grant No. 20170356), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and Bennelong Foundation. The authors were particularly grateful to the study participants.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. Sven Bölte declares no direct conflict of interest related to this article. Bölte discloses that he has in the last 5 years acted as an author, consultant or lecturer for Shire/Takeda, Medice, Roche, Eli Lilly, Prima Psychiatry, and SB Education and Psychological Consulting AB. He receives royalties for text books and diagnostic tools from Huber/Hogrefe, Kohlhammer and UTB.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all participating parents included in the study.
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Lee, E.A.L., Black, M.H., Falkmer, M. et al. “We Can See a Bright Future”: Parents’ Perceptions of the Outcomes of Participating in a Strengths-Based Program for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 50, 3179–3194 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-020-04411-9
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Strengths-based program
- Special interests
- Transition to adulthood