evaluation of a group support program for autistic adolescents

Adolescence is an important transition period in which many questions and challenges may arise. It is important that young people have a confidant or a safe place where they can go and vent about their experiences. Currently, there are not many possibilities for support for autistic adolescents in Flanders. The group program PASS was developed by CAR Sint-Lievenspoort to meet this need. Autistic adolescents participate in a small group in 20 weekly sessions. They learn more about themselves and learn skills that are important to participate in society. Parents and siblings are also involved in this support program.

What? PASS: a group support program with weekly sessions

For whom? Autistic adolescents (12-18 years old)

Why? To help young people to participate in society during the transition period of adolescence

What is the research about?

How can objectives and support methods be described as concretely as possible so that others provide the program in the same way?
We will further define and operationalize the goals of the program in meetings with the therapists. We draw up a manual in which the support program is described step by step, based on input from the therapists, literature review and observations of the sessions.

What impact does the support program have on the adolescents?
We will evaluate the effect of the support program through interviews, questionnaires and observations. We collect information from both the adolescents and their parents, therapists and teachers. We investigate the effect of the program on the adolescents’ knowledge of themselves, their independence, and conversational and collaboration skills. We examine whether the perspectives of the different people involved converge or not.

How do adolescents, their parents and therapists experience the support program?
We investigate which aspects of the program adolescents and their parents are (dis)satisfied with. We also strive for more insight into the therapists’ views on the reasons why the program has an effect. Finally, we aim to investigate the reasons for drop-out and how this can be prevented. We try to formulate an answer to all these questions through interviews with adolescents, parents and therapists after the support program.

In collaboration with

Centrum Ambulante Revalidatie Sint-Lievenspoort
Cynthia Adutwum, Amber Cooreman, Annemie Patyn, Evi Mestdagh, Hermien Dumolein en Florence Tytgat

Contact person ACCA
Sara Van der Paelt