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How Social Determinants Affect Young Adults with Autism and LD


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This article has been published in Behavioral Health News.

How Social Determinants Affect Young Adults with Autism and Learning Differences: Creating a Plan for Future Success

Social determinants of behavioral health (SDBH) can have a significant impact on young adults on the autism spectrum, especially as they enter adolescence and young adulthood. Research indicates that most graduates with autism and other learning differences will have a difficult time following high school for almost any outcome – working, continuing school, living independently, socializing and participating in the community, and staying healthy and safe (Thompson 2018). Repeated social failures may generalize to all events and can develop into a passive, failure-prone attributional style consistent with learned helplessness and depression (Abramson et al. 1978). These symptoms only intensify during the transition to adulthood.

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About The Author, Jenna Knauss, MS

Jenna Knauss has worked in the field of clinical psychology and program administration for the past ten years. Jenna worked in a private practice with adolescents and their families providing intensive wraparound and therapeutic services. She has been an adjunct instructor in both Community College and private University settings at the graduate and undergraduate level and held administrative roles in both the outpatient and residential setting. Jenna has a passion for program development. She initiated a social skills pilot program at a university counseling center for young adults on the autism spectrum and was also part of a leadership team that developed a grant-funded program for families impacted by violence. As Program Director at CIP Berkshire, Jenna is passionate about maintaining a safe and supportive community by providing quality programming, opportunities for staff and student leadership, and strong connections with and between CIP families. She also runs the Student Leadership Team and is especially passionate about community engagement endeavors aimed at connecting students to local internships and getting local businesses excited about the CIP student community. Jenna earned her Master’s in Counseling Psychology with and emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from California Lutheran University. She’s been part of several community outreach presentations and publications and earned the Berkshire 40 Under 40 Award in 2019. When she is not out in the community representing CIP, she enjoys hiking, running, picnics in Tanglewood, and enjoying the beautiful Berkshire scenery with her family.




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CIP's full-year postsecondary programs offer individualized college academic, social, career and life skills support for young adults with Autism, ADHD and other Learning Differences. Learn more...

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