Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #486
Preparing for Adulthood: What Can be Done to Best Prepare Individuals and Their Families on the Autism Spectrum Disorder for the Adult World?
Monday, May 28, 2018
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Grand Hall D
Area: AUT/CSS; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Marianne L. Bernaldo (Xcite Steps, LLC)
Discussant: Bonnie Kraemer (San Diego State University)

Much of the discussion in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis has been, what will happen to individuals diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, when they become adults? What services are available to adults on the Autism Spectrum? What jobs are available to them? Are they prepared for the job world? How can we best prepare the individual and the family for the transition into adulthood? In this symposium, we will discuss how to best prepare individuals diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities, on their path to adulthood and independence. The first symposium will examine Applied Behavior Analysis programming by an insurance-funded private agency and will compare those programming goals with domains listed on a life-skills preparedness inventory. The second symposium will focus primarily on parent/guardian education and preparing parents/guardians for the adolescence and adulthood stage, including the "services cliff." More importantly, a discussion of what to do when the "services cliff" occurs and how to manage a family's expectations with this change will be reviewed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Adult services

Insurance-Funded Applied Behavior Analysis Services for Adolescents: How Can We Prepare Them for Adulthood?

Marianne L. Bernaldo (Xcite Steps, LLC), MEGAN LEDOUX (Xcite Steps, LLC)

With an increase in insurance coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis services, many agencies are providing Applied Behavior Analysis services to clients ranging from early intervention through adolescence. While much of the field has dedicated research to early intervention, a large proportion of individuals diagnosed with Autism will reach adulthood and may lack the skills necessary to live independently. Further investigation could identify how Applied Behavior Analysis agencies can prepare individuals with autism for adulthood during adolescence. This might include providing programming focused on health, money management, safety, community skills, etc. Many of the more advanced life skills necessary to function independently require prerequisite skills that should be addressed within Applied Behavior Analysis programming. This study examined the various goals of Applied Behavior Analysis programming (e.g., interpersonal skills, job maintenance skills, health, housing, and money management); in addition, the study examined the results of a life skills inventory to identify patterns in the various developmental domains, as well as their relationship to the Applied Behavior Analysis goals. Results from this examination are discussed in terms of guidelines for Applied Behavior Analysis program development and adult services, as well as potential directions for future research.

Preparing for the Fall: Educating Parents on Transition and Adult Services for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum
MARIANNE L. BERNALDO (Xcite Steps, LLC), Darryn Robinson (Xcite Steps, LLC), Stephanie Lopez (Xcite Steps, LLC)
Abstract: It is a known fact that services for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder often dissipate once the individual becomes an adult. Many parents are not prepared for this reality and are often left with more questions than answers in terms of what to do with their adult son/daughter once they are an adult. It is important that parents are educated on what to do with their child once he/she becomes an adult, at a much earlier point in their child’s life. This presentation will focus on how one in-home private Applied Behavior Analysis agency prepares and educates parents for future adult services by using parent education modules along with quizzes, to obtain mastery on various parent education topics. An overview of the following parent education topics will be discussed in the presentation: 1) Self-Management/Advocacy; 2) Academic Planning; 3) Service Options in the Adult world; and 4) Sexuality/Dating and Relationships. Further discussion of exactly when to introduce these topics will be discussed, along with future implications for preparing parents for adulthood for their child.



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