From Autism Transition Handbook
The following tips, strategies, and suggestions can help each family create their own map through the process or adventure of transition.
Establish safe and open lines of communications with adolescents and young adults. Ask about feelings, preferences, interests, activities. Be non-judgmental and open to information. Ask open questions that allow further exchanges, rather that limiting questions answered in a word or two.
Help adolescents establish open communication with school and resource personnel. Each individual needs to learn to ask for help. School situations can be particularly intimidating as teachers have grade power, and peers can tease or ridicule. Practice and offer advice, but avoid doing it for them, do it with them instead.
Open paths to communicate regularly with professionals. Do not wait for an annual IEP meeting. Ask questions and bring your own ideas. Ask follow-up questions to ensure you understand. Don’t assume any one person has all the answers
Check out options before making a choice. Many resources may be interesting or exciting but ultimately are not including in planning. Very few people start with a plan and follow it without change. The best option for the transitioning adolescent may not be the best option for an independent adult
Follow up internet information with in-person visits and requests. The internet provides a wealth of information, resources and choices, but every resource should be checked.
Find out about acceptance criteria and waiting lists before you need to know. The area of human services does not have unlimited resources. Waiting lists and acceptance criteria are a way of life. Its best to know before it becomes critical and best to be on the list and not need the option when selected then to avoid the list and increase wait time.
Plan and set goals
Decide the basics, and create a mission statement. Help your son or daughter to decide what their life will look like. Practice making choices, start with the small ones and build to big ones
Have a plan B. Have a first choice , but have a second, and even a third plan as back-ups. Not every option is available all the time. Waiting lists are a reality of the limited resources. There is more than one way to get there from here.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or changes. Very few plans end in the way they started. Events, changes in interests, and new found strengths all make changes on how a person views and participates in real world activities. Personal growth is the biggest outcome of transition plans.
Everyone needs someone who will support their decisions and help them along the way. Encouragement, support, resources and back-up are all important for the young adult to be independent and successful. You can help by listening, offering reminders rather than nagging, locating resources and options, and by being a back-up when things go wrong.
Outside advocates act as guides rather than decision-makers. Advocates should present options and support the decisions of the transitioning student and family first. When looking for an advocate look for someone who will support your views not their own agenda.