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Development of A Behavioral Intervention Program for Families of Autistic Adults

Principal Investigator(s):

Daina Tagavi, Ph.D.

Grant Type:

Applied Research




Wendy Stone University of Washington

Year Awarded:



In Progress


Behavior, Emotions, Mental Health; Families


Caregivers of autistic adults report having limited access to resources that aid in supporting their of-age children (now adults). These concerns are exacerbated when considering the prevalence of challenging behaviors that can interfere with autistic adults’ quality of life. There is a need for interventions designed to teach caregivers strategies that can address challenging behaviors, as well as promote independence. Ideally an intervention would also involve active dyad engagement in order to collaboratively generate new strategies. The Research Units in Behavioral Intervention (RUBI) program is an evidence-based intervention, initially developed to support parents of autistic children with co-occurring challenging behavior. The proposed study utilizes the Discover, Design/Build, Test (DDBT) framework to collaboratively and iteratively redesign RUBI with community stakeholders (i.e., autistic adults, their caregivers and providers) to ensure its feasibility, acceptability, and appropriateness for autistic adults. Iterative quantitative and qualitative methods will be conducted to identify targets for RUBI redesign. As a final step, the redesigned intervention will be piloted with autistic adults and their caregivers. Development of this protocol would offer autistic adults and their families a tool to promote adaptive skill development and decrease behaviors that may interfere with autistic individuals engaging in desired skills of independence in the home and community.