Improving the transition to adulthood

Autism Speaks is committed to helping people with autism and their families navigate the journey from adolescence to adulthood. We offer free online resources for transitionemploymenteducation and housing and community living; nationwide education through online community events and regional town halls; and advocacy support and policies for tax-preferred savings legislation, transition planning and adult life assistance.

Every year, an estimated 70,000 autistic people age out of school-based services. We must ensure that children who have access to services and resources continue to receive support as they enter adulthood.

 

Most recently, we’re proud to share this progress achieved during the last fiscal year. 

  • Launched Delivering Jobs, an inclusion campaign to create pathways to 1 million employment and leadership opportunities for people with autism, intellectual and/or developmental differences by 2025. In partnership with Best Buddies, Special Olympics and Entertainment Industry Foundation, Delivering Jobs will:  
    • Equip people with the resources to prepare for employment and leadership opportunities  
    • Motivate employers to hire, support and promote diverse and inclusive workforces 
    • Increase awareness about the low rate of employment for adults with autism, intellectual and/or developmental differences and challenge the public to advocate for inclusion and equity  
  • Pursued policy solutions for autistic people transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, through strategic partnerships within the autism community.  
    • Successfully passed state legislation to lower the age of transition services in Connecticut from 16 to 14, and co-hosted a legislative forum focusing on transition in that state, creating a model to pursue similar legislation in states nationwide   
    • Testified at a congressional briefing on Civil Rights Protections in Public Schools for Children and Youth with Disabilities 
  • Convened a Thought Leadership Summit on transition to adulthood.  
    • The two-day meeting brought together research leaders, policymakers, autistic people, parents and service providers to discuss how research can help support autistic adults in achieving their goals 
  • Advocated for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to include expanded and improved access to academic, social, financial, mental health and other services. Reached more than 7,000 jobseekers on the free Autism Speaks online jobs portal.  
    • Autistic jobseekers can access over 300 employers and 650 service providers from across the country, including Cummins, University of Miami, Panera Bread, Harvard University, Simons Foundations and more 
  • Continued to work with families and individuals to ensure they maximize available benefits through ABLE tax-free savings accounts, with more than $380 million in assets under management in ABLE accounts as of March 2020. 
  • Championed access and improved supports in federal apprenticeship programs and other workplace-based learning experiences that increase access to education, training and employment opportunities.  
  • Championed the extension of the federal “Money Follows the Person” program, providing state grants to expand access to home- and community-based services for youth and adults with autism, through November 2020.  
  • Continued to increase corporate employment efforts by assisting companies in developing autism-led hiring initiatives.  
    • Consultants mentored and trained through this program created more than 600 jobs for people with autism at Cintas, Staples, Amazon, Quest Diagnostics and Meijer Superstores 

Meet members of our community who share their experiences navigating the transition to adulthood.

Chade K
Chade` K. | 30 years old
As a volunteer advocacy ambassador, I work with my assigned representative to increase autism awareness and advocate for legislation like the Autism CARES act.
Read Chade` K.'s Story
Spectrum Spotlights: Meet Helen P.
Helen P. | 26 years old
Because of my autism, my life has been very meaningful. It’s helped me be more creative as a writer, pet photographer and artist.
Read Helen P.'s Story
Autism Speaks Spectrum Spotlight
Chase T. | 20 years old
Being on a spectrum means I do and see things differently from others.
Read Chase T.'s Story
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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.