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Autism in Adulthood



The challenges and unknowns of adult life can seem overwhelming and a bit scary for anybody, but individuals on the autism spectrum tend to face a unique set of challenges in adulthood. In the coming years a “tidal wave” of young adults on the autism spectrum will become adults who may require assistance with obtaining employment and independent/community living, developing social skills, and achieving a post-secondary education.1 Fortunately, high school transition services and the Individualized Education Program (IEP) are designed to help individuals on the autism spectrum not only with academic supports, but to also prep them for life in the “real world”. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a child’s IEP must contain a statement of transition services for the student by age 16. These transition services are based on a student’s strengths and areas of need, designed for the student to work towards a specific outcome, and focused on instruction and services for education, employment, and other living skills.3 Sadly, these protections offered through IDEA and the IEP are no longer awarded to young adults on the autism spectrum once they reach 21 years of age. Within this series of articles we will explore what services are available to individuals on the autism spectrum as they enter adulthood and beyond.

  • Employment: The article discusses employment for individuals on the autism spectrum from both a parent’s perspective and an outside perspective. The specifics of the article focus on transition services and types of employment options available.

  • Post-Secondary Education: The article discusses the different post-secondary education program models and also includes a beneficial checklist that provides general tips for helping individuals prepare for their education after high school. ​

  • Community Living: The article discusses the different type of living options for individuals on the autism spectrum.​

  • Social Skills: The article discusses the technology, day-to-day life, and research relating to social relationships for individuals with autism.


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