Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


Sixth Annual Autism Conference; Philadelphia, PA; 2012

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #24
CE Offered: PSY/BACB

Promoting Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships: Helping Youth With Autism Flourish as They Transition to Adulthood

Sunday, January 29, 2012
10:30 AM–11:30 AM
Grand Ballroom
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Instruction Level: Intermediate
CE Instructor: Erik Carter, Ph.D.
ERIK CARTER (Vanderbilt University)
Dr. Erik Carter is an associate professor of special education at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. He received his Ph.D. in special education from Vanderbilt University in 2004. Dr. Carter first worked as a high school transition teacher in Texas. He has since directed two large-scale research grants funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. The first focused on increasing employment outcomes and community engagement for youth with severe disabilities through innovative school-community-business partnerships. The second is evaluating the efficacy and feasibility of peer support and peer network interventions for improving social and learning outcomes of high school students with intellectual disabilities and autism. He was also co-primary investigator on the Natural Supports Project—a 5-year grant focused on increasing the employment, self-determination, and school engagement of youth with severe disabilities. He has co-authored over 85 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and books addressing transition supports for adolescents with disabilities. He received the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children and the Early Career Award from the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He serves on eight editorial boards, is an associate editor for two journals, and currently serves as co-editor of Remedial and Special Education.

For most transition-age youth, life after high school offers an exciting array of opportunities and new pursuits. Yet, far too many young people with autism leave school without the skills, supports, relationships, and connections needed to pursue their aspirations for adulthood. Follow-up studies consistently highlight the persistence and pervasiveness of disappointing outcomes in the years following graduation. This presentation will focus on what is currently known about effective approaches for promoting (a) access to rigorous learning opportunities in secondary school, (b) connecting youth to relevant school and community experiences, and (c) fostering supportive peer and adult relationships. Despite the rapidly expanding knowledge base, there remains much the field still does not know about how best to support these young people. Recommendations for research and practice aimed at promoting successful transitions will be offered.

Target Audience:

Certified behavior analysts, behavioral consultants, behavioral therapists, clinicians, educational consultants, psychologists, special education teachers, and individuals working with children with autism or other developmental delays.

Learning Objectives: forthcoming



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