Skills Program Helps Young Adults With Autism Socialize With Peers

Young adults who completed 16 weeks of the PEERS program also saw improvement in empathy and responsibility.

Researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA have found that a social skills program for high-functioning young adults with autism spectrum disorder significantly improved the participants’ ability to engage with their peers.

In the study, the largest randomized controlled trial to show improved social functioning in young adults with autism, the participants’ advances continued to be seen 16 weeks after the program’s conclusion, and were even augmented by other improvements such as increased empathy and greater responsibility.

The study, which builds on previous findings showing the effectiveness of UCLA’s Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills, or PEERS, appears in a special issue of the online Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

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