Research Projects

Keeping it Real: Collaborating with Self-Advocates to Develop Strength-Based Modules for Public Schools

Funded By: FAR Fund & Autism Speaks

Year Funded: 2012


Kristie Patten Koenig, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, New York University

Aaron Lanou, MSEd, Director of Professional Development, NYU ASD Nest Support Project, Department of Teaching and Learning

Lauren Hough, MSEd, Coach Consultant, NYU ASD Nest Support Project, Department of Teaching and Learning


Project Abstract

NYU Steinhardt’s “Keeping it Real” project is a partnership with self-advocates who serve as positive role models for middle and high school students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The self-advocates will work with a development team from NYU’s ASD Nest Support Project to produce three strength based modules that will foster the critical skill of self-advocacy in adolescents with ASD. Each module will include video, instruction and a newly designed curriculum for use in the public schools. The modules will include: 1) self-esteem and bullying; 2) self-advocacy skills; and 3) use of strengths and interests.  Pre and post assessment of attitudes and behaviors associated with bullying and self-advocacy will be measured. The modules will become part of the ongoing professional development schedule that takes place in schools participating in the ASD Nest program and will be disseminated via the NYU Steinhardt website and elsewhere.