In The Politics of Autism, I write:
When disabled people reach their 22d birthday, they no longer qualify for services under IDEA. ... People in the disability community refer to this point in life as “the cliff.” Once autistic people go over the cliff, they have a hard time getting services such as job placement, vocational training, and assistive technology. IDEA entitles students to transition planning services during high school, but afterwards, they have to apply as adults and establish eligibility for state and federal help. One study found that 39 percent of young autistic adults received no service at all, and most of the rest got severely limited services.
The goal of this research was to examine reported service needs among individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) of all ages. Data were generated from a state survey that queried the needs of children, adolescents and adults with ASD. Logistic regression was used to compare service use and need among these age groups. Adults with ASD were less likely to be receiving multiple types of services, and more likely to have a need for services. These findings demonstrate that adults with ASD have more and different needs for services. These results can inform policy and program planning to put in place the services adults with ASD need.From the article:
As an increasing number of individuals with ASD are growing up and aging out of the education system, the adult service system is flooding with individuals who have unique needs that the adult system may not be prepared to address (Shea 2014). The unmet needs of adults with ASD could suggest that the capacity for providers to deliver these services to adults needs further development or that mechanisms to provide and fund the delivery of these services to adults are not yet in place. In most states, providers in the adult service system have skills in supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities and/or individuals with mental health diagnoses because programs supporting adults with these diagnoses have been operating in states for many years. Unfortunately, states are just beginning to develop ASD specific programs and it is evident that there is a lack of provider capacity to support the unique needs of adults with ASD. Training to prepare providers in the adult system to deliver these services is a top priority (Bruder et al. 2012). This issue requires additional attention, as individuals spend the majority of their lives in adulthood and estimates of spending results in the majority of resources allocated in adulthood (Ganz 2007).