Group-Based Treatments for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Group-Based Treatments for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Group treatments are targeted for young adults with ASD from ages 19 to 26 (College to Post-College) who have fluent verbal abilities and can participate in small group discussions.

For Young Adults to Enhance Independent Living Skills:

Description:The Enhancing Independence Program for Young Adults with ASD is a 16-week long program to promote the independent living skills of young adults with ASD between the ages of 18 to 25 years old who are either in college or have graduated high school. The course will be provided in a small group format that will be led by a group leader with expertise in young adults with ASD. Each week, young adults will be presented with topics related to areas of independent living that are commonly encountered with challenges among this age group.

Topics include learning to better organize and plan the day (e.g., using a schedule, managing time, planning for projects and activities, using technology/strategies to help keep track of tasks), manage  personal care (e.g., hygiene, exercise, nutritious eating), manage daily appointments (e.g., making appointments for school, medical care, time for friends), take care of home needs (e.g., laundry, cleaning the room, throwing the trash away, washing dishes), take care of needs in the community (e.g., ordering meals, asking for directions, handling transportation),  better handle stress (e.g., relaxation, coping), and expand hobbies and interests.

The lessons and skills will draw from findings and strategies from current research. Sessions will focus on young adults practicing skills together with their peers and the treatment team coaches. In addition, weekly home practice assignments will be provided. The treatment team will contact the young adult by phone once during the week to check in on the status of how the young adult has been completing the assignment and provide support with problem-solving should there be any barriers to completing the assignment. Every week, young adults will discuss their completion of assignments to share how they practiced the skills. In addition, the group will discuss ways to overcome barriers and provide suggestions to develop solutions together, so young adults learn from one another and mutually develop motivation and encouragement to be as successfully independent as possible.

Requirements:Young adults will need to be able to participate in a discussion about the topics and cooperate with their peers; therefore, the ability to speak in fluent and complex sentences will be required to participate in the group. Young adults with aggressive verbal or physical behaviors toward others will not be eligible.

Time and day:Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 pm (1 hour each sesssion)

Fees: Many insurance companies will cover all or part of the cost of the program.  Self pay fees are $100 per week plus a one-time intake fee.

For Young Adults with Anxiety:

This group treatment teaches young adults how to manage stress and anxiety by learning healthy coping strategies.

Young adults will learn strategies in a group setting with their peers. Treatment will be based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), an evidence-based intervention to treat anxiety. Anxiety related to being in social situations, excessive worries, and needing to complete certain habits will be targeted. 

For Young Adults with Depression:

This group treatment teaches young adults how to manage difficult feelings, including feeling sad and overly critical of themselves by learning new ways to think of situations and healthy ways to manage their feelings.

Young adults will learn strategies in a group setting with peers. Treatment will be based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), an evidence-based intervention to treat depression. Moderate feelings of depression, such as feeling sad, overly tired, having a loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, and feeling guilty will be targeted. This group is not appropriate for young who have active thoughts of harming themselves.

General information about the young adult groups: 

The programs will be provided across 16 weekly sessions once a week on Wednesdays from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm.

Cost: Many insurance companies will cover all or part of the cost of the program.  Self pay fees are $100 per week plus a one-time intake fee.

If you are interested in any of our programs, please contact our office at the Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental Clinic (CAN Clinic) to set up an intake appointment to determine if this form of treatment is a good fit for your young adult. 

Contact Us: 

Phone: 310-794-4008

Fax: 310-825-9989

Email: clinic@autism.ucla.edu or mlazar@mednet.ucla.edu.  

Address: 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 1253, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6967