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Autism: Transitional Planning for Adolescence to Adulthood

Written by Justine Padula
Published on October 25, 2017

Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys. Autism prevalence figures are growing and Autism is one of the fastest growing developmental disorders in the U.S today and there is currently no medical detection or cure for Autism. The symptoms of ASD begin in early childhood and continue through life in most individuals with ASD. Treatments for individuals ASD that have been effective are Early Intervention, Communication, Occupational and Physical Therapy. These treatments have found to be most effective when started at a young age and consistency implemented across all settings of the individual.


“It’s a very long distance marathon NOT a sprint”


What is transitional planning? Transitional Planning is creating the child’s life for after age 18 or 22. Transitioning is a long process that involves many steps, people, and agencies to prepare students with disabilities for the shift from high school to adult life. The transition process is recommended to start by age 12 in the health care system and formally begins at age 14 in the school system but it’s never too early to start. The transition team should include the care givers, child, IEP team, any private treatment providers, medical providers and community agencies that are involved. Students should be actively involved in their meetings and should aim to run their team meetings toward the end of their high school years. It is vital for student success for them to become invested in their education, set their own goals, understand and know their strengths and weaknesses and to be able to communicate them to others. The below provides helpful guidelines of when it might be right to start thinking about certain steps in the process.


Resources for the transition process:

  • Federation For Children with Special Needs (www.fcsn.org )
  • Mass Department of Elementary & Secondary Education   (www.doe.mass.edu/sped/advisories )
  • Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org
  • ARC Mass (www.arcmass.org)
  • Neuropsychological and Education Services for Children NESCA (www.nesca-newton.com )
  • North East Arc (www.ne-arc.org)
  • Easter Seals   (www.easterseals.com/ma/our-programs/youth-services/youth-transition-services


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