We work to foster resilience and facilitate successful transitions to adult roles and social contexts for young people with developmental neuropsychological differences.

Our populations of focus are those with developmental neurodiversity during the transition to new roles and social contexts associated with adulthood. Our overarching research questions are:

What is needed to

  • Manage disability-related symptoms and challenges?
  • Access new supports and navigate new support systems?
  • Foster social participation and wellbeing during the transition to new adult roles and social contexts?

Our research aims are two-fold.  We work to promote the resilience of young people by:

  1. Examining and fostering the competencies and supports needed by young people with developmental neuropsychological differences for managing their condition and fostering social participation and wellbeing. Our focus is on specifying key conditions and processes by which young people can best understand and manage their condition and then apply that to developmentally-relevant strengths-based interventions for self-managing both the (dis)ability-related symptoms and the expectations that come with adulthood.
  2. Identifying predictive outcome paths that can be used to guide the development of interventions and also inform the decision-making of parents, educators, and health care personnel. We include a focus on the role of social-environmental connections and specifying underlying social processes that contribute to desired outcomes.
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Our focal population are youth and young adults with neurodevelopmental learning disorders that, despite average or above average intelligence, impact learning.  This includes academic and social learning.  We focus on conditions such as dyslexia (i.e., reading disorder), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and high functioning autism (i.e., Asperger’s).  These conditions involve differences in abilities related to perceiving, thinking about, remembering and or learning information.

Diagnostically-related differences in information processing can have consequences that extend beyond the classroom to areas that are important for the transition to adulthood, such as learning to self-manage one’s everyday life.  Developmental learning disorders involve difficulties executive functions of the brain, which are cognitive processes that are needed for planning, organization, attention, self-control, social perception and social interactions – all of which are critical for youth as they transition to adult roles and contexts.

We believe that by discovering, testing, and sharing solutions and strategies for helping young people with developmental neuropsychological differences transition to adult roles and contexts, we can contribute solutions and strategies that may benefit all young people.

We focus on understanding, creating, and testing solutions and strategies that consider both the youth and the youth’s contexts.  We investigate the interaction of the youth and the individual’s social-environmental context in relationship to desired young adult outcomes.  Our research acknowledges the importance of examining individual and social contextual interactions in minimizing the disabling effects of the neurodevelopmental condition and in fostering the youth’s abilities to meet his or her goals and achieve optimal participation, development, and wellbeing.

We work with older adolescents and young adults with a focus on facilitating independent participation in everyday tasks and meaningful activities (occupations) using the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning (ICF) and the Person-Environment-Occupation (PEO) model as our guiding theoretical frames.

Thank you for visiting our website.  Please return often as we work to better the everyday lives and developmental trajectories of transition-age young people.

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