Transition Planning for Autism in Adulthood

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Transition planning is a conversation that usually begins at school with your child’s teachers during the IEP meeting.


And sometimes it tends to stay there.


This post will share some ideas about what you can do to transition plan at home and in collaboration with teachers, service providers, and other professionals.


Why should we (autism families) even focus on transition planning?


Well, the numbers of teens on the autism spectrum approaching adulthood are increasing every single year.


Becoming adults in a world where there is very little support from existing adult services and systems.


Needless to say, autism in adulthood looks very different from school and special education.


When young adults with autism leave the public school system, “nearly 80% still live at home, almost half have no jobs or postsecondary training, 40% never have contact with friends, 17% never feel hopeful about the future, 21% never engage in outside activities, and many experience a decrease in insurance coverage and therapy services.” (Shattuck, 2010).


According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA),

Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include —

(1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills; and

(2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.


To determine support for the IEP, professionals use Indicator 13, which requires that

Youth aged 16 and above with an IEP and includes appropriate measurable postsecondary goals that are annually updated and based upon an age appropriate transition assessment, transition services, including courses of study, that will reasonably enable the student to meet those postsecondary goals, and annual IEP goals related to the student’s transition services needs.


There also must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP Team meeting,

Where transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, if appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority. (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)).


A logical next step for transition planning for you as a caregiver is in the home. It’s like the reverse of when you were preparing your child on the autism spectrum for school.


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Here are some guiding questions for you to consider transition planning as an autism parent or caregiver:

  • What are my teen’s goals for life after high school?

  • What are goals we can work on together with the school?

  • What are goals we can work on at home?

  • How can we practice independent living skills at home?

  • Who can we get in contact with outside of the school that we can collaborate with in regards to my teen’s goals?


What are some transition planning steps you’ve taken care of? What are some that you want to work on next? Share in our Autism Grown Up community and let’s chat!

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