“Girls Night Out” program for teens with autism

If you’re looking for a social communication intervention to use for teen girlsthis article on Girls Night Out (GNO) is a great place to start. GNO is a peer group therapy program, consisting of weekly evening sessions (2 hours) with a handful of teens with a disability (primarily ASD) and at least equal number of trained peers. GNO teaches: “...(1) relating to others, (2) self-care, and (3) self-determination in social competence and self-perception.” Topics like “Finding My Fashion” are designed to appeal to teen girls, with fun features like “GNO bucks” as part of a token economy. 
The primary function of the article is to describe GNO in detail, while summarizing the evidence behind its design. In some ways, the extensive background section is one of the most valuable parts of the article— the authors do an excellent job of describing the relevant research (e.g. for social skills training). This article is also unique in addressing concerns for older female children with autism. The authors suggest that, “Adolescent females with ASD may experience a “double whammy” as they try to negotiate the increased complexity of social experiences inherent in female adolescent relationships… alongside their impairments in communication and social reciprocity related to ASD.”
The authors conclude with analyses of four years of GNO groups. The range of activities and participants across this extended timeline present challenges for drawing conclusions. Nonetheless, the preliminary data is promising, demonstrating positive gains in self-perception and the girls’ ability to connect with others.

See: Jamison, T.R. & Schuttler, J.O. (2016): Overview and Preliminary Evidence for a Social Skills and Self-Care Curriculum for Adolescent Females with Autism: The Girls Night Out Model. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10803-016-2939-6