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Advanced autism research to improve practice and outcomes - Independence for adolescents and young adults PI Duration Sponsor
I-Connect Plus: Enhancing Community Participation for Adolescents and Adults with ASD using Online Instruction, Tele-Coaching, and Accessible Self-Management Technologies

Kamps (PI), Will (CoPI), L. Hetizman-Powell (CoPI), R. Mason (CoPI), J. Buzhardt (CoPI) and B. Mason (CoPI)

 10/01/13 - 9/30/18

H133A13032

Most recent analysis of post-secondary outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) indicate they are less likely to pursue postsecondary education/vocational training and/or be gainfully employed when compared to those with other disabilities. Further, the majority of persons with ASD continue to be dependent upon their parents or other caregivers for shelter, food, and financial support throughout their adulthood (Taylor et al., 2012). However, there is a paucity of evidence regarding effective interventions to support and strengthen post-secondary outcomes and minimize risk for this population. The proposed I-CONNECT PLUS project will focus on developing a technology supported instructional system for (a) teaching social competence, problem solving, and organization using self-monitoring skills to increase active engagement in community settings for adolescents and young adults with ASD; (b) providing remote tele-coaching by community providers, peers, and family members for promoting generalized use; and (c) use of self-management and monitoring of outcomes to promote independence and full engagement across settings. This will be accomplished through direct social skills instruction (Parker & Kamps, 2011) with embedded video modeling (Mason et al., 2012), delivered through a mobile interface that includes the capacity for virtual coaching and real-time self-monitoring (Wills & Mason, 2013). Objectives include:

Objective 1. To develop instructional technology including use of mobile applications “I-CONNECT PLUS” to teach social competence, problem solving, and organization/self-monitoring skills for adolescents and young adults with ASD.

Objective 2. To develop tele-coaching materials to generalize skills to community settings.

Objective 3. To adapt I-CONNECT self-management system to include applicable systemfeatures (e.g. skill task analysis, link to instructional modules) for I-CONNECT PLUS.

Objective 4. To conduct initial pilot trial of the entire I-CONNECT PLUS program.

Objective 5. To assess feasibility of I-CONNECT PLUS-typical agents as implementers (24 participants with ASD and relevant service providers.

Project design includes an iterative development process including Focus Groups, usabilitytesting, and a series of Pilot Studies. A total of 50 participants with ASD, and their serviceproviders, parents, related community persons will participate. Measures include observation andrecordings of Focus Group activities and use of I-CONNECT PLUS components, usabilitysurveys, user satisfaction surveys, and intervention rating forms. Measures of potential outcomesinclude pre-post quizzes, accuracy of skill use and self-monitoring, community engagement; andassessments of social skills, quality of life, independent living, and consumer/caregiver stress.

 


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Job Opportunities
  • Assistant Researcher We are seeking one to two assistant researchers (one full-time or two part-time) for the I-Connect Plus project to provide consultation and training in the use of intervention procedures for participants (adolescents and young adults with ASD), their teachers, and service providers; facilitate recruitment, scheduling with school staff, and assist in consent and assent procedures. This researcher(s) will also provide ongoing monitoring and coaching to participants (adolescents and young adults with ASD), their teachers, and service providers in the use of the intervention, among other activities. View the full job posting and apply here
  • Student Hourly Positions We are seeking to fill student hourly positions. These students will be responsible for data collection activities with preschool students and teachers, including administering literacy assessments to children, observing classroom instruction and interactions, and assisting in the preparation and delivery of data reports in the Kansas City Metro area, as well as data management and entry at our offices in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. View the full job posting and apply here.  
 
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An additional huge thank you to our team at the Life Span Institute on campus at KU for your help. Your work is so important to us!