Autism After 16 Develops Adult Service "Roadmaps"

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Navigating services for autistic adults can seem daunting. Website Autism After 16 is creating step-by-step guidelines to help families with this process.

Social security benefits forms.

Navigating the world of adult services can be an overwhelming task.

Most families are used to dealing with IEP teams and services that are coordinated through the school system,” notes Pavlides. “They often don’t realize that with adult services, there is no lynchpin to service coordination.

Moving from childhood to adulthood with autism can be a difficult journey. While autistic children are entitled to services from the public education system, adult services aren’t always readily available. Studies show that all too often, young adults with autism and their families receive inadequate support.

Autism After 16, a website focusing on adult autism issues, is developing state-by-state “Roadmaps” to help families navigate this rocky path. The Roadmaps provide step-by-step guidance with links to help families access pertinent resources in their states. Federal resources are also included.

“Many families have no idea how to begin to think about adult issues,” says editor Merope Pavlides. “Although children with autism are entitled to Transition services to help them move into postsecondary education and careers, all too often that support is lackluster. We felt as if some nuts-and-bolt guidance would be helpful.”

Accessible from Autism After 16’s homepage, the Roadmaps begin at age 16 and move through high school into early adulthood. Information includes how to learn about your state’s requirements for high school graduation, how to access Social Security and Medicaid supports, and how to work with your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Developmental Disabilities departments.

“Most families are used to dealing with IEP teams and services that are coordinated through the school system,” notes Pavlides. “They often don’t realize that with adult services, there is no lynchpin to service coordination. Service eligibility and availability vary from agency to agency.”

As autistic youth move through high school, it’s also important to think about financial issues, and legal matters such as guardianship. “Lifespan planning is immensely important,” Pavlides states. “The majority of adults with autism are unemployed or underemployed. Those who are employed often don’t make a living wage. It’s incumbent upon families to think about how to cobble together supports—private and public—that can last over time.”

Autism After 16 is a website devoted to providing information and analysis of adult autism issues. Over 50 percent of its contributing writers are autistic adults, while many others are family members. Autism After 16 provides informational articles on accessing adult services, commentary, links to useful resources, and a library of videos to help teach independent living skills.

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Merope Pavlides
Autism After 16
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