Youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) experience poor outcomes in the areas of independence, employment, and postsecondary education. This article provides a critical review of the key aspects of the transition process and identifies recommendations for policy and practice. The review highlights the literature and explores recommendations across the manifold elements of this transition, including social and psychological development, high school curriculum, work, and college. Five policy recommendations are outlined in the areas of school curriculum, employment development, postsecondary education, inclusion with nondisabled peers, and systematic instruction. Finally, the authors offer recommendations for further research in the areas of social interaction, increased academic and vocational rigor, employment, technology, independence, and postsecondary education.From the article:
A major finding of this selected literature review is that youth with ASD have significant untapped potential that has been underappreciated. In reviewing research articles and papers related to program demonstrations, one can look at findings from a deficit-driven approach or a more positive constructive approach. Clinical experience combined with this literature review leads to the conclusion that youth with ASD have substantial untapped potential. For these students to achieve this potential, schools and community programs must partner earlier, more frequently, and more effectively with students with ASD and their families to develop the educational foundation that can change lives dramatically. These youth can either be pushed into sheltered workshops and adult activity centers or offered careers and real jobs in the workforce in businesses looking for reliable skilled labor (Wehman, Schall, Brooke, & McDonough, 2012). They can sit at home after school or open the doors of colleges (White et al., 2011). They can be isolated or they can access social media and create a network of hundreds, even thousands, of virtual friends. They can learn to navigate the community or they can be restricted to constant monitoring with day-in/day-out one-to-one staff control.
Wehman, P., Schall, C., Brooke, V., & McDonough, J. (2012, April 26). The effect of project SEARCH and supported employment on employment outcomes for adults with ASD. Lecture presented at the NARRTC, 2012. Annual Conference: Advancing and Sustaining Research in Disability and Rehabilitation, Alexandria, VA.
White, S. W., Ollendick, T. H., & Bray, B. C. (2011). College students on the autism spectrum: Prevalence and associated problems. Autism, 15, 683–701.