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A Practical Framework for Delivering Strength-Based Technology Clubs for Autistic Adolescents
Curtin School of Allied Health, Curtin University, Perth Western Australia.
Curtin School of Allied Health, Curtin University, Perth Western Australia.
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD. Curtin School of Allied Health, Curtin University, Perth Western Australia.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7275-3472
Curtin School of Allied Health, Curtin University, Perth Western Australia.
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2023 (English)In: Autism In Adulthood, ISSN 2573-9581, Vol. 5, no 4, p. 356-365Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
00. Sustainable Development, 3. Good health and well-being
Abstract [en]

Autistic individuals experience poor vocational outcomes internationally. Transition planning and interventions during adolescence may assist in improving outcomes in adulthood. Strength-based technology clubs show promise in improving outcomes for autistic adolescents by developing skills specific to the Information and Communication Technology industry, and fostering positive traits, such as self-determination. Although strength-based technology clubs have been examined with autistic adolescents, to date, no framework has been proposed to underpin their design and delivery. In this conceptual analysis, we propose a practical framework for delivering strength-based technology clubs for autistic adolescents. The framework builds on work from a previous systematic review of qualitative research and a realist evaluation study of technology clubs for autistic adolescents, combined with theoretical understandings from three health models. The new framework comprised the components of interests, value, autonomy, and requirements, forming the acronym IVAR. Interests refer to strategies drawing on adolescents' areas of interest. Value represents a culture of valuing autistic adolescents as individuals for their unique strengths and skills. Autonomy refers to providing opportunities for adolescents to make decisions, and Requirements refers to aspects of the social and physical environment. Practical recommendations of the framework are discussed, including design and delivery of future strength-based technology clubs, facilitator training, and design activities. The proposed IVAR framework may be useful in guiding the development of strength-based technology clubs. Future research is needed to validate the feasibility and efficacy of the IVAR framework in underpinning the delivery of strength-based technology clubs to autistic adolescents.

Community brief

Why is this topic important?

The shift from adolescence to adulthood can be challenging for young people on the autism spectrum, and opportunities for employment may be limited. Modern approaches to improving employment outcomes for autistic youth highlight the importance of adopting a strength-based framework, such as matching the strengths and interests of autistic young people to future career pathways. The strengths of many autistic individuals are considered beneficial for employment in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Strength-based technology clubs provide opportunities for autistic young people to develop their technological and social skills, meet role models working in the ICT industry, and help them to find work experience.

What was the purpose of this article?

The purpose of this article was to develop a new framework for delivering strength-based technology clubs to autistic adolescents. The development of this framework was guided by the authors' earlier work in this area.

What do the authors conclude?

The authors proposed a new framework for delivering strength-based technology clubs to autistic adolescents. The framework contains four components, creating the acronym IVAR: Interests, Value, Autonomy, and Requirements. The component, Interests, refers to strategies that draw on adolescents' areas of interest, such as changing activities to include adolescents' focused interests. Value represented a culture of valuing autistic adolescents as individuals for their unique strengths and skills. Autonomy refers to providing opportunities for adolescents to make decisions during the program, and Requirements refers to the design of the social and physical environment.

What do the authors recommend for future research on this topic?

The authors recommend that future research should focus on exploring how practical and appropriate the IVAR framework is in supporting the delivery of strength-based technology clubs for autistic adolescents. The four IVAR components are potentially applicable to other areas of community focus to guide strength-based approaches more generally within autism research.

How will this analysis help autistic adults now and in the future?

This analysis and discussion will provide researchers, autistic individuals, and the community with practical examples of how service providers can apply IVAR to design and deliver strength-based technology programs for autistic adolescents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mary Ann Liebert, 2023. Vol. 5, no 4, p. 356-365
Keywords [en]
autism spectrum disorder, strength-based approach, computer coding, technology clubs, strength-based framework
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-59943DOI: 10.1089/aut.2022.0038ISI: 000917454900001PubMedID: 38116053Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85168430225Local ID: ;intsam;1740861OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-59943DiVA, id: diva2:1740861
Available from: 2023-03-02 Created: 2023-03-02 Last updated: 2024-01-02Bibliographically approved

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