Last updated August 27, 2018  
An Education and Support Program for Young Adults with ASD and their Families in the Madison and Milwaukee Areas



Principal Investigator

  Leann Smith, PhD Kate Szidon
  Leann Smith DaWalt, PhD
Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Kate Szidon
Project Staff
Working Together



Marsha Mailick Seltzer, Ph.D. Jan S. Greenberg, Ph.D. Janet Lainhart
Marsha R. Mailick, Ph.D.
Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Jan S. Greenberg, Ph.D.
Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Janet E. Lainhart, MD
Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin - Madison


Purpose of the Study

We are excited to announce a new research study focused on young adults (aged 18-30) with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. The purpose of this study is to develop and evaluate an education and support program for families with young adults on the spectrum entitled Working Together. The Working Together program involves 8 weekly education and support group sessions for young adults designed to promote coping strategies, problem solving skills, and advocacy. The program also involves 8 weekly education and support group sessions for parents designed to help parents to support their adult children in achieving educational and employment goals. The sessions for parents and for adults with ASD run concurrently. Session topics include problem solving strategies, coping skills, supporting employment and education goals, and planning for independence.

For this study, we are exploring the program's impact on family stress, well-being, and the adult’s engagement in community activities including employment. Both adults with ASD and parents will provide feedback about the program. We hope that by learning from young adults on the spectrum and their parents, we can inform future services and supports that promote a high quality of life for individuals with ASD during adulthood.


We gratefully acknowledge support from:

  • National Institute of Mental Health (R34 MH104308-01)
  • Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (P30 HD03352)
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (T32 HD007489)
  • National Institute on Aging (R01 AG08768)

We also express our extreme gratitude to the families who have graciously given of their time to contribute to this research.

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