Girls with autism and other developmental disabilities build social and self-care skills with help from KU program

November 05, 2012

By Chris Deffenbaugh

The KU Center for Child Health and Development has developed a program called Girls Night Out (GNO) for adolescents with autism and other developmental disabilities. Girls who participate work with program leaders and peers to develop skills designed to help them make friends and succeed in social settings.

"I think adolescence is hard for all girls," Rene Jamison, Ph.D., program director and assistant professor of pediatrics, says. "But it's especially hard for girls with autism and other developmental disabilities because one of the things that's difficult is picking up on those social cues around them."

The program, which received an Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grant, is unique in that the girls receive coaching and feedback about the skills during age-appropriate activities in community settings, such as a restaurant or a hair salon. Click on the video to see and hear their stories.

Last modified: Dec 03, 2012