Next Steps – Improving Transition Outcomes through Caregiver Education
Objectives: To assess caregiver satisfaction with the curriculum of the Next Steps classes. To measure caregiver concerns pre- and post-class participation.
Methods: Course evaluations were collected at the end of the third class regarding participant satisfaction related to class design and curriculum content. A survey questionnaire called Transitions Daily Rewards and Worries Questionnaire (Glidden & Jobe, 2007) was also used, which rates 28 statements such as “I am excited by the prospects for my child’s future,” on a Likert scale of 1 to 5 (Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree). This was mailed at the time of scheduling and collected before the first class began. The questionnaire was re-administered after completing the third class.
Results: Course evaluation and quantitative pre- and post-questionnaire data collection is ongoing. Currently we have 25 participant course evaluations (N = 25). The average rating for the question “How would you rate the overall quality of content presented?” was a 4.72 out of 5 (3 = “good”, 4 = “very good” and 5 = “excellent”) with 19 participants (76%) indicating “excellent,” 5 (20%) indicating “very good,” and 1 (4%) indicating “good.” To open-ended questions such as “Were the topics covered relevant? Meaningful? Did you learn something new?” 92% of participants indicated “yes” or an equivalent comment (e.g. “Topics were relevant, meaningful, helpful, resourceful,” and “I learned a lot, thanks!”). Themes of responses have included “increase in hope for my child” and “I learned from other parents and the instructor.” For the Transitions Daily Rewards and Worries Questionnaire, currently we have 18 participants (N=18) who completed both the pre- and post-test. There was limited change pre-test to post-test among respondents and any change present was bi-directional.
Conclusions: Transition to adulthood for ASD individuals poses unique challenges to caregivers. Administering transition-related curriculum in small group settings is not only feasible but is well received by participants. Differentiating the curriculum based on trajectories is necessary in order to tailor the course material appropriately. Feedback from caregivers has been overwhelmingly positive. Future direction includes improving our understanding of long-term impact of course participation and broadening delivery of the Next Steps course to additional demographics.