A presentation by Dr. Dennis Reid delivered at the 2016 Michigan Autism Conference. The open-access video below does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU and coursepack versions.
This presentation describes evidence-based strategies for promoting happiness among adults with autism on the severe end of the spectrum. The focus is on enhancing happiness to promote a desirable quality of life among adults who have challenges readily describing their emotional experiences. Initially, means of identifying and validating indicators of happiness and unhappiness on an individual basis are presented. Next, specific strategies for increasing happiness and decreasing unhappiness during daily routines are described. Examples of topics presented include how staff and others can develop good relationships with people with autism whom they support, how to identify situations accompanied by unhappiness and how to alter those situations, ways to identify and embed individual preferences within daily routines, how to provide necessary instructional and related demands in ways that are enjoyable, and how enhancing daily enjoyment can prevent and reduce challenging behavior. Throughout the presentation there is an emphasis on how promoting happiness as a desired outcome should be targeted, monitored, and evaluated just as other more traditional outcomes are addressed in human service agencies.