Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


This capstone project brings to our attention the importance of occupational therapy’s role in meeting the continued and ever changing service needs of individuals with ASD as they transition into adulthood. Adaptive life skill groups fill a gap in services for adolescents and support learning and performance of everyday occupations necessary for independent living. The purpose of this project was to determine if occupational therapy adolescent adaptive life skill groups are an effective method for improving adaptive life skill and maintaining that skill in individuals with ASD over time. This project provided insights into differences in assessment scores for participants when comparing pretest, posttest and maintenance scores on the ABAS-3 and the COSA. The Model of Human Occupation, provides the theoretical foundation that shaped this project supporting an occupation focus and client-centered approach to occupational therapy. This is a quantitative research study examining the effectiveness of group interventions on adaptive life skill performance of adolescents with ASD. Part one is a retrospective design, utilizing a pretest/posttest analysis of assessment scores while part two is a prospective design measuring maintenance of skills at five months post intervention. The results of the pilot study show no statistical significance in assessment scores, but would also be considered inconclusive given the small sample size (n=6). There was some indication of individual improvement of assessment scores from pretest to posttest and posttest to the five-month maintenance, but not enough to demonstrate statistical significance. Through visual analysis of the assessment scores, a pattern of improvement emerged with participants maintaining improvement over the five-month time period. Individual achievement of goals identified through group was achieved for all participants. Exploring the sustaining value of group participation is important within occupational therapy practice. The data in this pilot study begins an important discussion of how we can improve adaptive life skills in adolescents with ASD for the long term goal of changing their trajectory for greater independence and living more purposeful and meaningful lives.

Faculty Mentor

Shirley P. O'Brien

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Gayle Spira

Department Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy


An additional thank you to Scott Tomchek, PhD, OT/L FAOTA for his time, talents and expertise throughout this journey.

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)