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Objective: To study the feasibility and effectiveness of the Thai version of UCLA PEERS® in Thai adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Materials and Methods: The UCLA PEERS® was modified to fit with Thai culture. Twelve adolescents, aged 11-19 years old, with ASD participated in this modified 10-session weekly group intervention during March to October 2015 at Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand. Feasibility was assessed by parent satisfaction and session attendance rate. Effectiveness was assessed by social skills improvement rated by parents, Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS), the Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), and the Clinical Global Impression-Improvement Scale (CGI-I).
Results: All enrolled participants completed the study. Parents’ satisfaction with the program was 81.92%. The session attendance rates ranged from 83.3 to 100%. At the end of intervention, all of the skills trained in the program were rated as improved by at least half of parents. At 4-month follow-up, all but two skills (entering conversation and handling bullying) were still reported as improved by more than 50% of parents. VABS raw scores significantly increased in the domain of communication (95% confidence interval (CI): -2.25 to -0.89; p=0.036), daily living skills (95% CI: -3.70 to -0.47; p=0.016), and socialization (95% CI: -1.77 to -0.40; p=0.005), and significantly decreased in maladaptive behaviors domain (95% CI: 0.24 to 2.10; p=0.002). Six adolescents had CGI-I scores of very much improved or much improved.
Conclusion: The Thai version of UCLA PEERS® is a feasible and effective social skills intervention for Thai adolescents with ASD.
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