Transition to Adult Services

Autism is a lifelong condition. As our children grow, their symptoms and needs will continue to change. Children and adults will vary in their capabilities. Some adults will be completely dependent on parents or caregivers; others will be able to live an independent life; and many will be somewhere in the middle.

The Autism Society Inland Empire recently held a Town Hall meeting to discuss the issues families are facing with Adult Services here in the Inland Empire and released a report in June 2013.  Click here for the full report.  Some of the  key findings included:

1. Current adult services are doing a poor job of serving adults with ASD.  The majority of families and individuals with ASD give a poor rating to current Employment programs (71%), Higher Education programs (64%) and Social programs (75%).  However, when asked how many families have used and currently use these service systems, only a small percentage of families have actually accessed these services.

2.  There are a number of barriers that hinder adults with ASD from success in employment, college and social opportunities.  Common barriers continued to show across employment, college and social programs.  The highest reported barriers for all were:  lack of social skills (79% average), lack of motivation (37%), programs that aren’t appropriate (36%), lack of communication skills (35%), sensory issues (24%), lack of transportation (27%) and cost of the program (19% average).

3.  Need for Information and Resources for Current Adult Services.  According to the 2013 Inland Empire Adult Service Survey, most parents and individuals with ASD feel that they are not knowledgeable about Employment programs (70%); Social Programs (60%).

Evidence Based Treatments

Autism Internet Modules (AIM) – Free free modules are geared towards adult learners on this series of topics including assessment and identification of ASDs, recognizing and understanding behaviors and characteristics, transition to adulthood, employment, and numerous evidence-based practices and interventions.  Developed by the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) in partnership with the Autism Society of America (ASA), the Nebraska Autism Spectrum Disorders Network, the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Toronto’s Geneva Centre for Autism, they can be used by schools to train paraprofessionals, by support groups to teach parents, by university faculty members to provide coursework to graduate or undergraduate students.
Early Intervention – National Research Council Educating Children with Autism (2001) – recommends a minimum of 25 hours a week of intensive services as soon as a child is suspected of having autism. Read a summary of the recommendations.

Indiana Resource Center for Autism (IRCA)  headed by Dr. Cathy Pratt has a website loaded with best practice information. The site contains articles, information about all the latest autism-related resources,downloadable training modules that can be reproduced, publications, a collection of articles by Temple Grandin and othersrecommended books, information about conferences and trainings, and more.

National Standards Report:  More than two dozen autism experts looked at 6,400 research abstracts to determine which treatments are considered “established,” “emerging,” or “not established” in the report and then they published a 53 page report