Overall, the consensus of the focus groups seemed to center around the lack of effective school programs and transition services available for adolescents. Part of this problem may be a lack of research on education for this age group. Clearly, this is an area where we need more research.
Another central issue was the need for more and higher-quality professional development on autism. General education teachers in particular were said to need more awareness and information. It seems that we may need to look beyond single-day workshops and other “one-shot” training methods. The authors suggest more research on “coaching” type training models. One example of this is providing educators with a workshop that is followed by individualized in-classroom training with feedback. [Reference: Harkins, 2013].
If you are a graduate student looking for a research topic for your thesis or dissertation, educational programs for this age group might be a great choice! You’ll be helping to fill an important gap in programs for these students and their families.
Please note: this is not a comprehensive summary of this research article. It is simply my general impressions and perspectives on the results. The authors and publisher of this article do not necessarily endorse this summary or this website. To fully understand the focus groups and their results, please read the complete article.
Title: Addressing the Needs of Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder: Considerations and Complexities for High School Interventions
Authors: Kucharczyk, Reutebuch, Carter, Hedges, El Zein, Fan, Gustafson
Journal: Exceptional Children, April 2015, Volume 81, Issue Number 3, Pages 329-349