Transition to Adulthood

Planning for adult life

As your child reaches adolescence, you will begin to work with him or her, your school district and others to develop a plan for the transition to adulthood.

It's best to think about what adult life will include - a job, post-secondary education, a day habilitation program, living outside of the family home? Once the goals are decided upon (and they can change), a transition plan will be developed that builds the skills necessary for your child to be able to achieve these goals in adult life.

It is important to start early.

Preparation for the transition process happens in school. Students with autism have the right to receive comprehensive transition services. Under IDEA, school districts are responsible for providing the supports they need to meet their goals for after high school to the best of their abilities.

Each student's Individual Education Program (IEP) process must include transition planning services for all special education students at age 16. Ideally, this process should begin as early as 12 or 14 years old. 

The funding and the services available through IDEA are not available once the student has received a high school diploma or aged out of the school system (depending on the student’s needs, ages 18 – 21). So it is crucial that these services are set up while the student is in the school system. 

Transition to Adulthood

Transition Tool Kit Cropped Cover
This will help guide you on the journey from adolescence to adulthood.
Community Based Skills Assessment Cropped Cover
The CSA helps parents and professionals assess the current skill levels and abilities of students with autism beginning at age 12.
Allyson standing outside next to her mom, Lisa
Our Transition Roadmaps to Employment, Housing and Post-Secondary Education offer step-by-step guidance to help autistic teens plan for and reach their goals for adulthood.

Autism Speaks Postsecondary Tool Kit Cover Cropped
Help explore the various opportunities available after high school.
A group of adults working in a kitchen pose together
The transition process should focus on preparing for employment.
A young man stands in front of his new home, surrounded by his family, friends, and carers.
It is never too early to start think about options and funding available for housing and residential supports.

Additional Helpful Resources

Puberty Cover
Guidance on puberty that can be directly applied to pre-teens with autism
LinkedIn logo
Join a discussion and learn the latest on transition topics.
Sleep Teens
Helping adolescents with autism overcome sleep challenges.