James Conroy, PhD, and Robin Ferris of the Center for Outcome Analysis (“COA”) conducted a pilot study of 128 young people who received services from Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. (“YAP”) related to their autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. COA set out to answer two main questions: “Are the youth who participate in the YAP better off ? If so, in what way(s) and to what degree?”
To answer these questions, COA used a survey instrument to measure Quality of Life (QOL) responses from young YAP consumers and their families. The youth were predominantly male (85%) and Caucasian (80%) with an average age of nine years old. Family responders consisted primarily of parents (78% were mothers, 7% were fathers, and 5% were mothers and fathers responding together).
The researchers found that both youth and families believed they were much better off after becoming involved with YAP. The measurements of these positive changes were statistically significant and greatest in connection with issues related to whether YAP provided support and needed services for the young people as well as to whether YAP helped to improve their school situations and feelings of hopefulness.
The researchers noted that similar studies done on different programs showed much lower perceived increases in QOL and satisfaction. Thus, the researchers stated, “We can be very confident in the conclusion that the families believe that their lives, as well as the lives of their children, are significantly better now than they were before getting involved with YAP.”
Copies of the YAP-COA study may be ordered here.