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Lecture: Adults with Autism and Improving Outcomes

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) - Adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be the topic of the next Minds behind the MIND lecture on April 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the UC Davis MIND Institute, 2825 50th St. in Sacramento.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

The trio of speakers includes Marjorie Solomon, a UC Davis professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences who holds the Oates Family Endowed Chair in Life Span Development in Autism, Steve Ruder, who supervises the Community Health Program as part of the UC Davis Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Tasha Oswald, who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the MIND Institute and now works at the Portia Bell Hume Behavioral Health and Training Center in Pleasanton, Calif.

The focus of the lecture will be Acquiring Career, Coping, Executive-Control, and Social Skills, or ACCESS, a program developed as an intervention to help young adults with ASD to transition more effectively to adult life.

About a half million individuals with ASD are now entering adulthood in the U.S., and the lack of interventions or services to help them achieve optimal life outcomes presents a glaring social problem, says Solomon. These young adults with ASD face several challenges including those related to appropriate social communication and behavior in new settings with different role expectations, as well as a high rate of related health conditions.  Additionally, these individuals typically lose education support services when they leave high school and may not qualify for further assistance.

ACCESS uses a combination of cognitive behavioral and social skills group therapy techniques that help young adults with ASD develop the tools necessary for success when engaging in adult roles. The focus of the intervention is on planning and organization, social skills and interpersonal communication, communication in the work place and community engagement. It also includes training on coping with stress, as well as goal-setting, problem-solving, self-advocacy and self-awareness. The goal is to empower adults with ASD to access social, work, educational and community opportunities.

To see additional presentations by MIND Institute clinicians and researchers please visit the website.

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