Our mission is to help adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) transition into adulthood by teaching them the life skills necessary to achieve and maintain independence.
Research suggests a strong correlation between self-determination and positive social and behavioral outcomes, regardless of the individual's disability (Carter et al., 2009). However, for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the process of developing self-determination is more challenging because the characteristics of ASD include impaired executive functions (Chou et al., 2017). As a result, many young adults with ASD prefer strict routines and feel discomfort in unfamiliar situations. These preferences often result in significant reliance on caregivers to get through a typical day's routines and events. Although beneficial in the short-term, research shows that dependence on caregivers limits the development of self-determination and contributes to the low rate of employment, independent living, and financial outcomes (Wehmeyer & Palmer, 2003).
Guided by the self-determination learning theory, My Stellar Life with Autism aims to increase self-determination among young adults with Autism by targeting each component of competency, autonomy, and connectedness through the teachings of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Specific ABA techniques will include Naturalistic Teaching, Discrete Trial Training, Task Analysis, Constant Time Delay, Prompting Hierarchy, Self-Management, and Schedules of Reinforcement.
My Stellar Life with Autism builds on Self-Determination Theory (SDT). SDT addresses an individual's self-determination by evaluating the presence of competency, autonomy, and connectedness (Deci and Ryan, 2008). The need for autonomy, competence, and connectedness suggests that individuals seek to be in "control" of their own lives, interact effectively with their environment, and form connections and relationships (Deci and Ryan, 2008). Research suggests a correlation between the attainment of self-determination and an individual's disability label and severity, educational setting, and age (Carter et al., 2013a, 2013b). Within this research, individuals with ASD experience significant self-determination disparities compared to those with a different disability label (Cheak-Zamora, 2020).
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