Planning for the Transition to Adulthood | Organization for Autism Research

Resource Spotlight

The transition from adolescence to young adulthood can create both anxiety and excitement for young people. For students with autism, anxiety may outweigh excitement as they may face greater challenges than their typical peers in attending college, navigating social situations, or figuring out a potential career path.

To help reduce the stress and anxiety that comes along with this transition, parents, educators, and self-advocates can make use of the numerous individualized transition planning resources available online, including these:

  • Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood: OAR’s comprehensive transition guide serves as an all-encompassing resource for students, educators, parents, and counselors. It includes information about Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), independent living, employment, post-secondary education, and developing self-advocacy skills and life skills.
  • Cornell Person-Centered Planning Education Site: Person-centered planning is an approach to transition planning that prioritizes the involvement and agency of the student with autism. This website, created by the Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute, includes an overview of the person-centered planning process, interactive self-study courses, activities and worksheets, and links to outside resources.
  • The Arc Center for Future Planning: This website is an informational hub for resources about the future planning process for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The site features background information about the planning process, worksheets and interactive modules, examples of successful future plans, and a transition resource directory.
  • Transition Planning and the IEP: This online guide created by OCALI covers the transition process as outlined in the IEP, focusing on how to make the IEP as effective for transition planning as possible. It provides specific information for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their parents, educators, and service providers throughout each step of the transition process.
  • A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities: Created by the U.S. Department of Education, this document covers the transition services and requirements available to U.S. students through their IEPs. It also includes guidance on person-centered planning and a section of autism-specific resources.
  • I’m Determined is a project of the Virginia Department of Education that is focused on helping young people with disabilities build the self-determination skills that will allow them to proactively plan for their futures. The I’m Determined website has many helpful transition checklists, worksheets, and videos for educators, students, and parents alike.

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