According to the U.S. census, over a half million autistic students will turn 18 over the next decade/ Further studies show that many students diagnosed with autism are not prepared for the transition. Some and their families are opting towards a college education. More colleges are offering support services to autistic students including social, academic, and life skills.
The following resources provide information and articles on autism and college preparation:
11 tips for students with autism who are going to college (KFM)
20 great scholarship for students on the autism spectrum
College Autism Network (CAN)
College planning for autistic students (USC Marshall)
College students with autism need support to succeed on campus (Spectrum)
Families: Learn how to find autism-friendly colleges (U.S. News)
Going to college with autism (Child Mind Institute)
Helping students with autism thrive: College life on the spectrum (Madison House Autism Foundation)
Neurodiversity and autism in college (Psychology Today)
The transition to college can be tough, even more so if you have autism (Washington Post)
Source: (Friendship Circle)
The transition from high school to whatever comes next can be stressful for students with special needs and their parents. Guiding them through this passage is a school transition coordinator or specialist. If you haven’t made contact with this individual at your teen’s school yet, don’t wait.
I had my first meeting with our high-school transition coordinator, Barbara Milewski, when my daughter was still in middle school. I wanted to find out what I should be worrying about and planning for. Not only did she reduce my anxiety, she also pointed me toward a county agency that gave my daughter a job that summer. As school meetings go, that one was unusually productive.
Since many parents don’t know such a resource exists, I asked Mrs. Milewski — who has decades of experience helping young people through this transition as a district guidance counselor, school social worker, case manager for special-education students, and transition coordinator — to share a little bit about what transition coordinators do and why you should seek yours out. Click here to read the rest of the story.
One of the goals of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is to include transition planning services for all special education students at age 16. Transition planning is mandated through IDEA 2004 which serves to help students begin the process of preparing for post-school activities including, postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment and adult services. A timeline will help you stay focused on achieving each step.
The law states transition planning should begin no later than 16 years old or before. It is recommended transition planning should begin by age 14 since services are different in the adult services world including long waiting list depending on where you live and what services are available.
14 Years Old
- Transition planning should begin no later than when your child is 14.4- It is the law in most states.
- Begin to research agencies who provide services for individuals with disabilities
- IEP meeting should focus on the student’s needs, interest in preparation for adulthood
- Research various aspects of transition services
- Begin to explore recreation activities
15 Years Old
- Develop a vision statement
- Transition goals should be part of the IEP
- Begin to discuss home services
- Attend information fairs that offer information on future planning including residential, guardianship and employment
- Start planning an independence plan at home where possible
16 Years Old
- Transition goals at the IEP meetings should be updated.
- Confirm how long students will attend high school- 4 years or until age 21
- Start the process of getting referrals to your state agency
- Begin researching adult services and programs. Some waitlist can last for years
- Initiate application to adult service agencies
17 Years Old
- Confirm a graduation date
- Update transition goals in the IEP
- Begin to invite adult service providers to IEP
- Begin to investigate guardianship information and the process
18 Years Old
- Adult eligibility should be completed
- Apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid.
- Visit adult providers programs
- Attend job fairs if appropriate
- Establish legal guardianship if necessary
- Explore future planning
18-21 Years Old
- Refine vision statement
- Revise and update IEP goals
- Invite transition coordinator your child’s IEP meeting
- Explore and obtain necessary funding for adult programs
- Ensure there is a plan for medical/health coverage
- Confirm all support services are in place.
Below is a free transition printable planning checklist. Feel free to download the PDF.
I received an email from a high school student named Kathleen who is currently a part-time volunteer/intern with Educator Labs. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Kathleen put together resources on autism which you will find below in an effort to empower others with autism.
Thanks for sharing Kathleen, and best of luck!
Autism Speaks Resource Guide
Career Assistance for People with Autism
National Center for Autism Resources & Education
AutismNOW Transition Planning
Aquatic Therapy for Children with Autism