Girls Night Out: Lessons learned from a unique intervention for girls with autism


Filmed at ACT’s 14th Annual Focus on Research Conference – April 4, 2018

This presentation is followed by Sex Matters: The secondary impact of low prevalence for girls and women with autism.

Dr. Jamison established Girls Night Out (GNO) in 2008 to provide socially valid and meaningful interventions designed specifically for females with autism and related developmental disabilities. It is a positive and practical approach to giving girls with autism the opportunity to engage socially in a supportive environment.

In this presentation, Dr. Jamison and Dr. Oeth Schuttler explain the development of GNO. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of embedding the program within the community and during activities that social or self-care care skills would naturally occur. The role of trained peer volunteers in ensuring authentic opportunities for successful practice within realistic social settings is explained.

The second part of this keynote presentation, Sex Matters: The secondary impact of low prevalence for girls and women with autism, focuses on research examining the possible secondary impact on females with autism, of the discrepancy in rates of diagnosis between males and females. The concern is that missing females with autism is  exacerbating social-communication impairments and increasing risk for co-occurring mental health conditions.

Dr. Rene Jamison and Dr. Jessica Oeth Schuttler, Center for Child Health and Development (CCHD), University of Kansas Medical Center

Dr. Rene Jamison is an Associate Professor and licensed psychologist in pediatrics at the Center for Child Health and Development (CCHD), University of Kansas Medical Center. Her primary research focus is females with autism, identifying factors that contribute to social competence across development, and interventions to improve social-emotional health.

Dr. Jessica Oeth Schuttler is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor also at the CCHD. She is the associate director for the Girls Night Out Program and key collaborator on related research projects, community partnership, and training efforts to create more inclusive communities.

Part 1: Introduction to Girls Night Out

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Part 2: Sex Differences in ASD: Highlights and Implications

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Part 3: What Makes GNO Unique?

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Part 4: GNO Session Model

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Part 5: Promoting Independence in Self-Care Skills

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Part 6: Program Outcomes

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Part 7: Q&A

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  1. Could the girls set the agenda for activities they want to do? (00:00-00:40)
  2. Do you have any programs for people over 30? (00:40-01:40)
  3. What does the cost look like for participants and organizers in your program? Does it qualify for funding? (01:41-04:22)