Transition from Youth to Adult Systems
The time of Transition from Youth to Adult Systems or individuals with autism is notable for the movement from services and supports that are available as entitlements to those requiring that eligibility be established. This includes the transition from an IEP to employment, post-secondary education, or other supports; the move from pediatric services to adult health providers; and the need for greater independence in utilizing transportation, residential options, and community living. The transition period begins at age 14 and extends to age 22 and older.
Quality Indicators / Problems / Data Drivers
QI 8.1: Professionals, parents, and students work together in planning transitions from one program or service to another with consideration of the individual’s gifts, talents, and abilities.
Problem: Transition plans are often based on what was historically available, rather than more contemporary models of support, such as college or employment. Parents are often unprepared to participate in transition IEP meetings when or before their children reach the age of 14 because they are unfamiliar with contemporary and available programs and options.
Data Driver: Many parents of secondary school-age students are not well informed about local community adult services. It is not unusual for parents of children with disabilities to be confronted with long waiting lists for those services that do exist. 29
QI 8.2: Youth with autism between the ages of 14 and 22, after career and interest assessments, are provided with a variety of vocational, educational, recreational, and residential opportunities that reflect personal preferences in preparing for the transition to adulthood.
Problem: There are few post-secondary educational opportunities for young adults with autism.
Data Driver: Only 37% of youth and young adults with disabilities enter into some type of post-secondary education; students with autism participate in post-secondary education at even lower rates.30
QI 8.3: Youth with autism transition to adult medical services provided by primary care providers knowledgeable about autism.
Problem: For those youth and young adults who receive Medicaid, there is inadequate funding available through Medicaid waivers for the number of students transitioning each year out of high school. Many of the families who responded to our survey indicated their children have private insurance coverage, so, like all children who reach adult age, insurance is dropped and these young adults may have difficulty accessing transition services.
Data Driver: There are on average 100 Medicaid Waivers granted each year for all individuals with developmental disabilities of all ages, yet more than 400 students with an autism transition out of Georgia schools each year of whom more than half are estimated to be eligible for Medicaid Waivers.31