My Life as an Epic Win: Self-Determination in Individuals with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder
MetadataShow full item record
The transition into adulthood can be a difficult time for any young person. For individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder who have challenges in communication, social interactions and executive functioning (DSM 5, 2013), this transition could be extremely difficult. Research has shown that higher rates of self-determination in teens with and without disabilities are associated with many positive outcomes in adulthood (Cobb et al., 2009; Shogren, Wehmeyer, Palmer, Rifenbark, & Little, 2015; Wehmeyer et al., 2010). For young adults with HFASD, there is little evidence for the effectiveness of teaching self-determination on their adult outcomes (Wehmeyer et al., 2010; Shogren et al., 2015). To address this concern, in the winter of 2014, a ten-week course called My Life as an Epic Win, designed to teach self-determined behaviours, was delivered was delivered to eight older teens and young adults with HFASD and their parents. This MA thesis used a comparative case study design involving descriptive, interpretive analysis to describe the engagement of three of these participants with protocols relating to self-determination. Specifically, qualitative within and across participant analyses of pre- and post-course measures of self-determination were used to explore the impact of the course on self-determination for three of the eight young adults. Two measures of self-determination were used (a) the Arc’s Self-Determination Scale (SDS; Wehmeyer & Kelchner, 1995), and (b) Visioning and Action Questionnaire (VAQ). Analyses of these three case studies were useful in three ways. First, analyses showed how these individuals with high functioning ASD already demonstrated certain aspects of self-determination prior to the course. Secondly, the analyses provided insight into how self-determined behaviours were enhanced through training for these participants. Finally, the positive trends that were seen encourage us to continue developing and evaluating future iterations of the Epic Win course. Separate from the case study analysis, procedural analysis provided guidance as to how the course could be improved to enhance future participants’ acquisition of self-determined behaviours and to effectively evaluate this skill acquisition.