Transition to Adulthood: Meeting Post

Transition to Adulthood:
Meeting Post-Secondary
Needs of Older Adolescents
Lynne Weissmann
[email protected]
UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute
Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders
August 7-8, 2008
Parent Perspective
 Lynne Weissmann, parent of 21 year old
son with Autism Spectrum
Disorder/Asperger Syndrome
 Diagnosed at age 8 at UC Davis Center for
 Co-Founder of Sacramento Asperger
Syndrome Information & Support groups
in 1995
 Currently three groups including parent &
caregiver and two older teen/adults with
ASDs groups
When to start transition planning?
 As soon as diagnosis is made
 Parent becomes “project manager”
 Begin teaching effective self-advocacy
practices across all environments
 Include in IEP goals every year
 Builds confidence and competence
 Individualized supports in middle and
high school – see attached article for
 Diploma vs Certificate of Completion
Definition of transition services
 Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
definition of transition services
 “Co-ordinated set of activities” for a child
with a disability to help them move from
school to post-school activities
 “Designed to be a results-oriented process,
that is focused on improving the academic
and functional achievement of the child”
 Includes “Post-Secondary Education,
vocational education, integrated
employment, continuing and adult
education, adult services, independent
living, or community participation”
 “Is based on the individual child’s needs,
taking into account the child’s strengths,
preferences and interests”
What else does IDEA mandate?
 2004 reauthorized version of IDEA added
“further education”
 Provides a free and appropriate public education
(FAPE) “designed to meet their unique needs
and prepare them for further education,
employment, and independent living”
 Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals
must begin “not later than first IEP, to be in
effect when the child turns 16 and then be
updated annually thereafter”
 Postsecondary goals are “based upon ageappropriate transition assessments related to
training, education, employment and
independent living skills, where appropriate”
 Transition services need to assist the child in
reaching those goals, including courses of study
 Obtain Transition to Adult Living resource
guide (free) from CDE can be ordered or
downloaded from website:
Parent as Project Manager (revisited)
 Goals to achieve successful self-advocacy need
to be tackled from different angles, some
 Ability to communicate appropriately whether
child is verbal or non-verbal, requires ongoing
assessments and goals with speech therapist
 While working on above identified goals, build
in flexibility to give child timely opportunities
to work through real-life issues as they arise
 Teach, practice and real-life experiences with
follow-up self-assessment using methods that
are compatible with child’s learning-style (makes
it meaningful, make it relevant) – both in school
and at home
 Involve child in decision-making about their
preferences, especially by middle and high
• Include them in the IEP and/or core team
meetings and reviews – start slowly and
incrementally build up over time, allow
them to appropriately express how they feel
both positively and negatively and state
their needs and wishes
Parent as Project Manager – cont.
 When to determine whether child is on
diploma vs certificate of completion track?
 No set timeline, individual to each child
 Consideration may be ability to pass high school
exit exam (CAHSEE in CA), still under review
for children with disabilities, current
information on CDE website
• Still need to “offer a course of study that
prepares them for employment,
independence and integration into the
• Students who do not receive general
education diploma have the right to access
special education services until the age of 22
• When Certificate of Completion is attained,
student has the right to participate in all
graduation ceremonies
 Focus on attaining a balance of academic
achievement (with curriculum modifications, if
necessary), independent living skills and social
development until diploma or certificate is
Parent as Project Manager – cont.
 Make exit IEP meaningful, do not treat lightly,
view as blueprint for what’s next
 Obtain updated, confirming diagnosis with
recommendations for supports if attending
 With your child’s permission, sit-in on initial
meeting(s) with college disabilities counselor
 Let child lead, if possible, with support from you
as necessary
 The parent/caregiver is the constant in their
child’s life and need to take the lead in guiding
the people, services and programs that will
help to shape their child’s future
Final Thoughts
 Access to effective supports and services needs
to be available throughout the lifespan of
individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders,
regardless of the age they are first diagnosed.
 The essential goals for our children are the
same as for all children: the ability to function
successfully across environments, achieve their
maximum potential and, most importantly, be
fulfilled while following their unique life path
that is meaningful for each individual.
 …”the ability to function adequately in adult
life may depend as much on the degree of
support offered (by families, educational,
employment and social services) as much as
basic intelligence” (Lord and Venter, 1992,
Mawhood and Howlin, 1999)
Professionals whose body of work has inspired and
continues to inspire me
Professional friends and colleagues
Susan Bacalman, LCSW
Marilyn Perry, MFT, PhD
Professionals who have made a difference in my son’s life
and I’ve learned so much from
Sally Ozonoff, PhD
Patricia Howlin, PhD
Paula Jacobsen, LCSW
Uta Frith, PhD
Nancy Minshew, MD
Tony Attwood, PhD
Lorna Wing, MD
Patricia Schetter, MA
Sally Fitts, LCSW
Robert L. Blanco, MD
Terri Kimball-Hall, MS/CCC-SLP
My husband, whose support and wisdom is always there for
us – and our son, who continues to amaze me, and patiently
taught me to use PowerPoint to create this presentation
 Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships,
Temple Grandin and Sean Barron
 College Students with Asperger Syndrome:
Practical Strategies for Academic and Social
Success, Louise E. Bedrssian, Rodney E.
 Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Preparing for
Adulthood, Patricia Howlin, 2nd Ed, 2004
 Preparing for Life
Dr. Jed Baker

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