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Autism And A Transitioning To Adulthood

Jan 31, 2008
Around the age of fourteen, parents should begin thinking about how their autistic child will make the leap from school to adulthood. Ultimately, the goal for the child should be to lead as normal and independent a life as possible. As with your child's elementary and secondary school's education, good planning is a key factor in helping your child develop to its fullest potential.

Beginning around the age of 14, develop a plan geared toward making your child's adult life successful and fulfilling in terms of career, social activity, and community involvement. It may sound like a lot of work but the rewards for yourself and more importantly for your child cannot be stressed enough.

Your child's transition plan should at least incorporate:

* Individual interests, needs, skills, and preferences
* Strategies for a successful life after schooling ends
* Long range goals and activities designed to reach them
* Services that will help reach the envisioned goals

Again, the plan should be written down, but it shouldn't be just words on a paper - it must involve action. Once you've identified areas of interest for your child that could blossom into a career, take action to find opportunities that will provide experience and training to help achieve career goals. For example, if your child is particularly interested in animals, look for opportunities to volunteer at animal shelters, zoos, farms, or veterinary offices.

You might also find it helpful to seek out opportunities outside of the child's particular set of interests to provide your child with new options.

In reality, the steps required to help your autistic child become a successful adult aren't much different than steps for a non-autistic child, just more intensive and time consuming.

When your child is around the age of 14, begin exploring possible careers, talking to school counselors about your child's capabilities, participating in job assessment activities, and talking to people or reading books about careers of interest.

In high school, take another look at the transition plan to make sure it is still geared toward your child's current interests and remains realistic. Your child should begin taking courses that will enable him/her to enter a university or vocational school to pursue a program in his area of interest. Allow your child to participate in activities that allow him/her to "try out" a career field, such as summer jobs, volunteer work, or part-time work. If your child plans to attend college or a vocational program, begin researching potential schools, and tests that are necessary for enrolment. Identify schools that will be able to accommodate your child's special needs.

After high school, you will need to identify services and benefits your child may be entitled to. Your neighborhood library or for instance the Internet can be a great place to start your search for these benefits. Local support groups might be helpful in providing useful tips ad many other parents in these support groups may have travel this road before you. They usually are more then willing to share their knowledge with you.

Contact local agencies for help in applying for programs or assistance for your child.
About the Author
What You Should Know About Autism Spectrum Disorders. Signs, Symptoms, Treatments and Effects on Daily Life, Autism Asperger PDD-Nos: http://autism-asperger-pddnos.com
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