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Transitioning into Adulthood: Preparing Your Child with Autism

Transitioning into adulthood can be a challenging time for any young person, but it can be especially complex for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As a parent, preparing your child for this transition can feel daunting. However, with the right planning and support, you can help your child navigate this important life stage successfully. This guide will provide you with strategies and resources to prepare your child with autism for adulthood.

Understanding the Transition to Adulthood

The transition to adulthood is a significant phase in a person’s life, marked by numerous changes and new responsibilities. For individuals with autism, this transition can involve additional challenges, including changes in services and supports, the need for increased independence, and the development of new social and life skills.

Despite these challenges, many adults with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives. With the right preparation and support, your child can successfully navigate this transition and achieve their full potential.

Developing Life Skills

One of the most important aspects of preparing your child for adulthood is helping them develop the life skills they’ll need to be independent. These skills can include:

Self-Care Skills

Self-care skills are the basic skills needed to take care of one’s own physical needs. This includes skills like bathing, dressing, grooming, and preparing meals. If your child struggles with these skills, consider seeking the help of an occupational therapist.

Household Management Skills

Household management skills include tasks like cleaning, doing laundry, and managing money. These skills are essential for living independently. You can help your child develop these skills by involving them in household chores and teaching them about money management.

Social and Communication Skills

Social and communication skills are crucial for building relationships and navigating the social world. These skills can be particularly challenging for individuals with autism. Social skills training or therapy can be beneficial in this area.

Planning for Education and Employment

As your child transitions into adulthood, they’ll need to make decisions about their education and employment. This can involve exploring post-secondary education options, vocational training, or job placement services.

Post-Secondary Education

Many individuals with autism pursue post-secondary education. This can include university, community college, or vocational school. Disability services at these institutions can provide accommodations and supports to help your child succeed.


Employment can provide a sense of purpose, opportunities for socialization, and financial independence. There are many resources available to help individuals with autism find and maintain employment, including vocational rehabilitation services and job coaching.

Accessing Adult Services

When your child turns 18, they’ll transition from pediatric to adult services. This can involve changes in healthcare providers, shifts in legal rights and responsibilities, and a need to reapply for services and supports.

Navigating this system can be complex, but there are resources available to help. Consider working with a transition coordinator or case manager to ensure a smooth transition.

Supporting Emotional Well-being

The transition to adulthood can be an emotional time for your child. It’s important to support their emotional well-being during this time. This can involve regular check-ins about their feelings, providing reassurance and support, and seeking the help of a mental health professional if needed.


Transitioning into adulthood is a significant milestone in your child’s life. With the right preparation and support, your child with autism can navigate this transition successfully. Remember, every individual is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this transition. It’s important to listen to your child, involve them in the planning process, and advocate for their needs. With patience, persistence, and the right resources, you can help your child transition into adulthood and achieve their full potential.


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