Research was conducted to investigate the evidence for generalizability and/or long term maintenance of social skills intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 13-21 years. The question was created at the request of Kari Tanta PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA of the Valley Medical Center Children’s Therapy. The literature review was conducted, generating 17 articles that matched the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The process involved rigorous article review via several databases and saturating the available literature from various professions. There is strong evidence to support the use of social skill intervention for adolescents with ASD. Furthermore, the evidence supports the generalizability and long-term maintenance of acquired skills. It is recommended that both practitioners and care providers of those with ASD consider the use of social skill interventions, especially those in groups, to elicit generalizable and sustainable progression of skill development.

To support the implementation of these findings, a social skills guide was created as a knowledge translation project for parents and practitioners to use with individuals with ASD. The guide includes eleven social skills with which those with ASD are likely to struggle, according to our research. Each skill includes a description, potential problems with acquisition, research- and practice-supported interventions to encourage progress, and advocacy methods for functioning with the possible delays. The research was incorporated into the guide by extracting evidence-supported interventions for specific skills. The impact of this guide was monitored through use of a satisfaction survey, which was given to our course mentor, project chair, and practitioners at Children’s Therapy to evaluate its effectiveness and ease of use for parents to whom they may distribute the guide. It is recommended that outcome data from these surveys also be distributed to parents in the future to receive feedback on how to improve the guide.

Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


University of Puget Sound

Project Chairperson

Sheryl Zylstra, DOT, MS, OTR/L

Publication Date



Capstone Project





Degree Program

Occupational Therapy

Degree Level

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy


University of Puget Sound