A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of the ACCESS Program: A Group Intervention to Improve Social, Adaptive Functioning, Stress Coping, and Self-Determination Outcomes in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 May;48(5):1742-1760. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3421-9.


The purpose of this pilot randomized controlled trial was to investigate the acceptability and efficacy of the Acquiring Career, Coping, Executive control, Social Skills (ACCESS) Program, a group intervention tailored for young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to enhance critical skills and beliefs that promote adult functioning, including social and adaptive skills, self-determination skills, and coping self-efficacy. Forty-four adults with ASD (ages 18-38; 13 females) and their caregivers were randomly assigned to treatment or waitlist control. Compared to controls, adults in treatment significantly improved in adaptive and self-determination skills, per caregiver report, and self-reported greater belief in their ability to access social support to cope with stressors. Results provide evidence for the acceptability and efficacy of the ACCESS Program.

Keywords: Adults; Autism Spectrum Disorder; CBT for Anxiety; Randomized controlled trial; Self-determination; Social skills.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological* / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / psychology
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder / therapy*
  • Education / methods*
  • Education / trends
  • Executive Function / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Skills*
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / diagnosis
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult