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The Autism Transition Guide Planning the Journey from School to Adult Life Carolyn T. Bruey, Psy.D., BCBA & Mary Beth Urban, M.Ed.

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Price: $19.95

The authors of The Autism Transition Guide know how overwhelming it can be for parents of students on the autism spectrum to think about what will happen when their son or daughter graduates from high school and leaves the familiar supports of special education behind. That's why Bruey and Urban wrote this practical guide to transition planning--a road map for families, educators, counselors, and transition specialists to navigating this crucial, sometimes tricky journey from high school to adult life.

Federal law requires that a transition plan be in place by the time a child reaches age 16; Bruey and Urban believe starting at age 12 to 14 is even better because goals are more likely to be met. The following are key areas they advise parents to plan for:

  • Residential choices
  • Postsecondary education
  • Employment
  • Recreation and leisure activities
Additional considerations include:
  • Who should be on the transition team
  • Getting transition goals into the IEP
  • Evaluating and assessing your child's skills
  • Involving your child in the process
  • Sequence of changes (e.g., should he get a job before moving out of the house?)
  • When your child no longer qualifies for IDEA assistance
The Transition Portfolio Planning Tool, a detailed template, is designed to help put plans into action and keep everyone moving forward. Use this form to track what needs to be done to reach transition goals in a variety of areas, including employment, education, and communication, social, and daily living skills.

The Autism Transition Guide is a must-have resource for families and professionals, providing ideas and strategies that can be applied to a broad range of individuals on the autism spectrum--from the college-bound student to the student who requires 24-hour supervision to succeed. No matter what the particular destination may be for your child or student, this guide can help make sure he or she reaches it. 

"Using an individualized, child-driven approach that focuses on an individual’s interests, abilities, and needs, this book provides a framework to help families with 14 – 20 year old children with autism spectrum disorders transition to adult life. The authors, both with extensive experience working with children with autism and their families, explain the laws that protect their children’s rights, and that provide the backdrop for the choices they and their children will make about guardianship, post-secondary education opportunities, living situations, work and more. There are vignettes that illustrate each step in the process. The appendices include transition planning tools, and resources."
-Newsline, Fall 2010 (The Federation for Children with Special Needs)

"Leaving the relative security of childhood and school can be stressful for any student, but for individuals on the autism spectrum, the transition to adulthood and participation in the larger world can be especially daunting. In this manual for parents and educators, two nationally-recognized experts in the field offer a game plan for successful transition. Topics addressed include residential options, post-secondary education, employment, and leisure activities. In addition, methods for including all relevant people from the student, family members, counselors, and teachers are also discussed for optimal success."
-Disability Resources Online

"The authors of this book have prepared an informative and easy to read guide for professionals and parents of children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) who are preparing the transition between adolescence and adulthood. This time of transition can be extremely difficult both for parents and the person with ASD; however with active, thoughtful transition planning, the authors' goal is to increase the chances of success.

Professionals and parents are led through a myriad of topics that should be considered during the transition planning process. Long term planning for future living arrangements, vocational opportunities, post-secondary education and recreation and leisure activities are discussed. Setting and directing long term goals through a student's IPP or IEP are encouraged and creating a 'transition team' is recommended to help ensure these goals are targeted and redesigned as needed.

The authors remind readers that each student's transition plan will need to be individualized based on the individual's skills and strengths in the areas of self-care, socialization, communication and behavior. Goals need to be set long in advance of graduation and team members are encouraged to research community-based options for housing and vocational or recreational opportunities. Legal and financial implications are considered. However, the authors speak from an American perspective. Canadians will need to do their own research on community and government-based supports available for families and young adults with ASD.

The text in this book is supplemented with charts, checklists and case studies that help merge theory and practice when transition planning. The authors remind us that even though we are often focused on the 'now' with our students and young adults with ASD, it is never too soon to being planning for their future and have their long term goals and dreams guide our intervention today."
-Candian Journal of Occupational Therapy, June 2010

"The latest installment in the ongoing Topics in Autism series from Woodbine House, The Autism Transition Guide, focuses on autism issues that tend to surface between the ages of 14 and the early 20s. This book offers specific strategies on how to develop a comprehensive Transition Plan and IEP, discusses possible living arrangements and employment options, and helps parents maneuver a maze of legal information. It’s a terrific road map for teenagers with autism, their families, teachers, counselors, and other specialists.

Co-authors Carolyn Thorwarth and Mary Beth Urban--both longtime educators who work with children on the autism spectrum--address three phases in the transition: early, middle, and approaching graduation. More than once, they share this message: 'You can never begin too early.'

This book does a stellar job of explaining various tests and assessments for students with ASD, translating the laws that pertain to federal education and deciphering other aspects of transition planning. The authors are also adept at encouraging parents to get creative and play up their child’s strengths, with wonderful real-life examples.

One of the best features of this book is the easy-to-use format of its charts, which are succinct but packed with detailed information. One chart assesses the skills and abilities needed for different types of higher education, employment, and housing; while another helps parents determine a child’s level of independence through questions about communication, social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and activities of daily living. Of particular note is the chart on how to troubleshoot and overcome post-high-school problems for young adults with autism.

Still, the greatest strength of The Autism Transition Guide is that it reduces an otherwise overwhelming process into small, bite-size portions that can give both parents and teens a much-needed sense of accomplishment."
-Exceptional Parent Magazine, October 2009

"School is meant to prepare anyone for the life ahead, but autistic students require a special approach. The Autism Transition Guide: Planning the Journey From School to Adult Lifeis a guide for educators and parents who want to best prepare their autistic child for the more complex nuances of adult life. Housing, employment, and other topics are discussed in this informative help book for parents and their autistic children. The Autism Transition Guide as such is a strong consideration for parents of these special children."
-Midwest Book Review 


Chapter 1 Where Are We Headed?

Chapter 2 The Legal Framework for Transition Planning

Chapter 3 Creating an Effective Transition Team

Chapter 4 Early, Middle, and Later Phases of Transition

Chapter 5 Involving Your Child with an ASD in the Transition Process

Chapter 6 Beyond School

Chapter 7 Putting It All Together

Chapter 8 Final Advice for the Journey

Appendix Transition Portfolio Planning Tool for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Resource Guide

References & Suggested Reading


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