Health Education and Relationships through Theater (HEART)
HEART is a research study designed to evaluate the impact of the HEART program to prevent risky sexual behaviors and to meet the unique sexual health learning needs of young people (14-19 years) on the autism spectrum, including ASD, autism and Asperger’s.
The HEART study will use a new version of PALMS (Promoting Awareness Through Live Music and Sound), a program that uses drama, role play, interactive exercises and participation of a trusted adult to create a dialogue on topics like relationships, self-awareness, communication and how they affect sexual health decisions. The program is designed to teach young people on the spectrum on how to define and build healthy relationships, understand boundaries, assess romantic feelings, as well as communicate about this with their partners and trusted adults.
Eligible youth that are screened into the study will participate in three surveys over the course of one year about healthy relationships and sexual health. Youth enrolled in the study will be randomly assigned to either A. only complete the surveys or B. both complete the surveys and attend the PALMS 6-session program over the course of a 3-6 week period at one of our partner locations. All participants will be compensated for their time receiving a $25.00 gift card for each survey completed. During the final year of the study, the program will be delivered to those who were enrolled in the study and assigned to complete only surveys.
This project is funded by Grant Number 90AP2690-01-00 from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Its contents are solely the responsibility of PHMC and do not necessarily represent the official views of HHS, ACF.