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A randomized controlled trial to improve social skills in young adults with autism spectrum disorder: The UCLA PEERS® Program

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Research suggests that impaired social skills are often the most significant challenge for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), yet few evidence-based social skills interventions exist for adults on the spectrum. This replication trial tested the effectiveness of PEERS, a caregiver-assisted social skills program for high-functioning young adults with ASD. Using a randomized controlled design, 22 young adults 18–24 years of age were randomly assigned to a treatment (n = 12) or delayed treatment control (n = 10) group. Results revealed that the treatment group improved significantly in overall social skills, frequency of social engagement, and social skills knowledge, and significantly reduced ASD symptoms related to social responsiveness following PEERS. Most treatment gains were maintained at a 16-week follow-up assessment with new improvements observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3978-3989
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number12
Early online date25 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • JADD SI Manuscript 2015

    Rights statement: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Autism and Development Disorders. The final authenticated version is available online at:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 708 KB, PDF document

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