The transition from federally mandated services provided through the school system to adult services can be a challenge. While entitlement to public education ends at age 21, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that transition planning begin at age 16 and become a formal part of the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

This transition planning should include the student, parents and IEP team members working together to help the student make decisions about his/her next steps. An Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) should be developed to outline transition services, which may include education or vocational training, employment, living arrangements and community participation, to name a few aspects.

The first step in transition planning is to take a look at the individual’s interests, abilitiesand needs. For example, what educational needs must be met? Where can the young adult find employment and training services? What types of living arrangements are best for him/her? How will he/she socialize and pursue relationships?

Entering adulthood is challenging and exciting. Advance preparation and plenty of support are needed so the young adult with autism can get a good start to the next chapter of his/her life.

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