Supporting people with Autism Spectrum Disorders in leisure time: Impact of an university volunteer program, and related factors

  • Carmen Nieto Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Eva Murillo Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Mercedes Belinchón Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Almudena Giménez Universidad de Málaga
  • David Saldaña Universidad de Sevilla
  • Mª-Ángeles Martínez Universidad de Burgos
  • María Frontera Universidad de Zaragoza
Keywords: Autism, volunteering, leisure, program evaluation

Abstract

Social participation has positive effects on mental and physical health, and it can be taken as an indicator of quality of life. However, the participation of people with disabilities in their communities is still scarce, especially for people with autism.

The impact on individual satisfaction produced by a university volunteer program (APUNTATE) aimed at supporting people with autism in leisure activities was evaluated. A questionnaire of impact assessment, that identifies those areas where the impact is greater, was completed by 159 users and 230 volunteers.

Users and volunteers reported a very high level of satisfaction with the program, but personal characteristics of users slightly influenced the scores. The structured organization of the program, and the continued training and support received by volunteers were the highest valued aspects. The adaptation of supports to the individual needs of users and volunteers was another relevant factor to explain the results.

The evaluation obtained shows that volunteering programs to promote the participation of people with ASD can be successfully implemented in public universities. These programs can increase the personal development, facilitate a change of attitude towards people with disabilities and can improve future employment prospects of students.

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Author Biographies

Carmen Nieto, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Profesora Contratado Doctor

Departamento de Psicología Básica

Facultad de Psicología

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

28049 Madrid  (Spain)

Eva Murillo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Profesora Asociada

Departamento Interfacultativo de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Mercedes Belinchón, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Profesora Titular

Departamento de Psicología Básica

Facultad de Psicología

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Almudena Giménez, Universidad de Málaga

Profesora Titular

Departamento de Psicología Básica

Facultad de Psicología

Universidad de Málaga

David Saldaña, Universidad de Sevilla

Profesor Titular

Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación

Facultad de Psicología

Universidad de Sevilla

Mª-Ángeles Martínez, Universidad de Burgos

Profesora Titular

Departamento de Ciencias de la Educación

Facultad de Educación

Universidad de Burgos

María Frontera, Universidad de Zaragoza

Profesora Titular

Departamento de Psicología y Sociología

Facultad de Educación

Universidad de Zaragoza

Published
25-12-2014
How to Cite
Nieto, C., Murillo, E., Belinchón, M., Giménez, A., Saldaña, D., Martínez, M.- Ángeles, & Frontera, M. (2014). Supporting people with Autism Spectrum Disorders in leisure time: Impact of an university volunteer program, and related factors. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 31(1), 145-154. https://doi.org/10.6018/analesps.31.1.166591
Section
Developmental and Educational Psychology

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