Project Leo: A management-oriented approach to evaluate a community’s effort to keep the ASD community safe

Session Number: 2434
Track: Disabilities and Underrepresented Populations
Session Type: Poster
Tags: autism, Safety
First Author or Discussion Group Leader: Myrna Veguilla [Social & Behavioral Researcher - University of South Florida]
Second Author or Discussion Group Leader: Erin Shackel [Graduate Student - University of South Florida]
Third Author or Discussion Group Leader: Julie Chappell [University of South Florida]
Fourth Author or Discussion Group Leader: Bonnie Brown, Brown [Doctoral Student - University of South Florida]
Time: Nov 13, 2019 (06:30 PM - 08:30 PM)
Room: Poster 37

Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract (150 words): 

This poster presents an evaluation of Project Leo, a safety initiative administered by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida (CARD-USF) aimed at keeping individuals with autism safe from elopement. The design of this evaluation was based on three principal goals: 1) to investigate the families’ perception of safety; 2) to determine effectiveness and efficiency of the response from local sheriff’s office to cases of elopement; and 3) to gather input for improvement. This management-oriented evaluation employed a mixed-methods design by collecting frequency of elopements and response time data from the county’s sheriff’s office as well as survey and focus group data from families of individuals with autism. This evaluation explores the need to evaluate community programs on an on-going basis and highlights the potential for other communities to implement similar programs for vulnerable populations at risk for elopement.