November 11, 2014

researchLexington, KY – The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded $693,000 to the University of Kentucky College of Education professor Lisa Ruble and Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. This grant will serve to figure out how to smooth the transition into adulthood for people on the autism spectrum. Medical Xpress met with the professor who said:

“This funding will allow us to find ways to help reduce or eliminate the disconnect from needed services that often occurs when students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) complete school.”

This is welcome news to Melanie Tyner-Wilson, mother to Jay, who is on the autism spectrum.He has just aged out of high school last May at the age of 21.

During his high school career Jay had numerous volunteer opportunities that lead him to discover his love for animals. But because Jay didn’t meet the requirements for a high school diploma, college and a steady career may be hard to find. His mother told that the challenge is now for her son to fins a job.

“That’s the golden ticket that I’m trying to figure out.”

She later added that studies like this are not only good for her son, but also for bringing attention to a problem that needs a solution. Without assistance in some way many like her son live in poverty.

The study will build upon earlier work called “Collaborative Model For Performing Confidence and Success” (COMPASS). This model is a parent and teacher based consultation that helps teachers, families, and students to improve educational outcomes. While COMPASS has been successful for younger students on the spectrum, it needs to be adapted for students as they prepare to leave high school and become adults. Then it will be tested in a randomized controlled study with 32 participants, focusing on the factors that produce the best educational outcomes.

The original article by Jenny Wills on the Medical Xpress website can be read here

Contributed by Audrey L. Hollingshead

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