UCLA PEERS for Young Adults Program Featured on the Front Page of the Los Angeles Times (Tarjan Center, CA, UCEDD)

November 2, 2015

On October 12, 2015, the UCLA PEERS® for Young Adults program was featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Director of Training at the Tarjan Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at UCLA, is the Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS® Clinic, an outpatient program providing an evidence-based, parent-assisted social skills intervention for adolescents and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. To view the article, visit: http://www.latimes.com/science/great-reads/la-sci-c1-autism-relationships-class-20151012-story.html.

Interest from the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets was the result of a recently published paper in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders by Laugeson and colleagues titled, "A Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Social Skills in Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: The UCLA PEERS® Program." This was the second randomized controlled trial examining the effectiveness of PEERS® for Young Adults and is the largest clinical trial of its kind to show improved social functioning in young adults with ASD. Study results found that after the PEERS® classes, members of the treatment group significantly improved in overall social skills, frequency of social engagement, and social skills knowledge, as well as showing reduced ASD symptoms related to social responsiveness. At a 16-week follow-up assessment, most of these gains continued to be seen, and new improvements were observed in the areas of increased social communication, assertion, responsibility, and empathy. You can read the complete article at http://www.semel.ucla.edu/sites/all/files/page/associated/Laugeson%20et%20al%202015.pdf.

Beyond these publications, the UCLA PEERS® Clinic team will share its findings with the autism community in early 2016 through the publication of the PEERS® for Young Adults Manual, the first evidence based social skills program for adults on the autism spectrum.

For more information on PEERS® for Young Adults, please visit our website at www.semel.ucla.edupeers or contact the UCLA PEERS® Clinic at (310)267-3377.

Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times