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03-05-2021 | Original Paper

“I Met Someone Like Me!”: Autistic Adolescents and Their Parents’ Experience of the KONTAKT® Social Skills Group Training

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Bahareh Afsharnejad, Marita Falkmer, Tanya Picen, Melissa H. Black, Tasha Alach, Anna Fridell, Cristina Coco, Kelly Milne, Jill Perry, Sven Bölte, Sonya Girdler
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10803-021-05045-1.


Throughout this manuscript, the term ‘autistic’ is used to describe individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as it is the preferred terminology amongst autistic adults (Kenny et al., 2016).

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This study captured the experiences of 35 autistic adolescents and their parents after completing a 16-session variant of social skills group training KONTAKT® (ACTRN12617001117303). Semi-structured interviews explored participants' and relatives' perceptions of KONTAKT® and associated social outcomes. Adolescents were classified as either high (HR, n = 23) or low (LR, n = 12) responders based on the primary outcome effects during the previous trial. Thematic analysis revealed that both HR and LR participants their parents were satisfied with KONTAKT®, noting consistent patterns of improvement in adolescents' social understanding, communication, relationships, and empowerment, although positive reports were more frequent among HR than LR groups. This study enhances the understanding of the impact of SSGT, which is key in improving their content, principles, and administration.

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