News Article


Advocacy Training for Parents of Youth with ASD

High school exit is a time of great change and uncertainty for youth with ASD and their parents. The purpose of this study is to create a program that teaches parents how to advocate for their son or daughter with an ASD as he or she transitions to adulthood. Parents will attend 12 weekly training sessions and complete questionnaires and follow-up phone interviews. 

Participant Criteria

Parents of a son or daughter with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who will be leaving high school in the next 2 years. Parents of youth with all levels of intellectual ability are eligible for this study. 

Participation involves: 

  • Preliminary psychological testing of son or daughter with ASD
  • Weekly parent advocacy training sessions for 12 weeks (immediately following psychological testing, or after a 12 month waiting period) in Nashville, Memphis, and Chattanooga
  • Optional participation of son or daughter with ASD in 2 sessions
  • Questionnaires before and after program
  • Observation of parent advocacy skills before and after program
  • 6- and 12-month follow-up interviews conducted over the phone


  • Total payment of $150-$200 for completing all parts of the study
  • Detailed report of youth’s psychological testing, which is often useful (and sometimes required) when applying for adult services

Travel Requirements: 

  • Visit to Vanderbilt for psychological testing of son or daughter with ASD
  • Attendance at 12 weekly training sessions at Vanderbilt or the UT-Boling Center in Memphis

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact Andrea Perkins: 615-322-2943 or via email at

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