Resilience Education for Increasing Success in Postsecondary Education
3-C Institute for Social Development
While most students experience increased stress during the transition to college due to greater academic, social, and financial pressures in an unfamiliar environment, these stressors are greater for individuals with high functioning autism spectrum disorder (HF-ASD). This project promised to result in a highly innovative computer-based resilience intervention that families and students can use independently to build resilience strategies for coping with the transition to college. The intervention will adapt the research-based Student Curriculum on Resilience Education for typically developing students (SCoRE; www.SCoREforCollege.org), to develop a customized version for students with HF-ASD. Specifically, SCoRE-ASD will build students’ understanding of and resilience in multiple areas shown to decrease stress and increase academic achievement, including self-care, social connections, cognitive style, and personal/academic goal setting. SCoRE-ASD will be designed as a self-paced, interactive online course using motion graphics, animation, video, and self-assessments with personalized reports, journaling, and other research-based learning methods. The web-based nature of this intervention will translate into faster, more cost-effective distribution greatly increasing access to students and families. This research project addresses five specific aims: 1) conduct usability testing of the SCoRE curriculum to develop a blueprint for intervention development based on the needs of students with HF-ASD; 2) develop the SCoRE-ASD intervention with enhanced content (i.e., additional modules and activities) and interface (i.e., pacing, graphics) keyed to the needs of individuals with HF-ASD; 3) integrate resources and activities through the Online Family Center, designed to empower parents to support their child; 4) assess acceptability and feasibility of implementing the SCoRE-ASD intervention with individuals with HF-ASD (aged 17-25) and their parents, as well as piloting data collection and reporting procedures; and 5) ready the product for distribution. SCoRE-ASD will provide students with necessary skills to cope with personal, social, and academic challenges during the transition to college thereby increasing the persistence in, and completion of, postsecondary education for students with HF-ASD reducing the serious problem of under-education and under-employment in these individuals.