The transition from high school to adulthood is one of the most challenging times for young people on the autism spectrum. What will happen when all their familiar teachers, educational assistants and friends disappear after graduation? Who will replace them in the adult world? How will they manage this drastic change?
Drawing on her experiences as the mother of a child on the autism spectrum and a child psychiatrist, Katharina Manassis shares common transition-related challenges and offers real solutions for each. The book helps parents and teens plan for every stage of the journey.
The book includes discussion of what a successful transition means and how to set realistic goals. It explores specific aspects of the transition such as employment, independence and social life, and looks at how to address long-term concerns such as living arrangements and financial support.
Table of Contents:
Why I Can Help You Help Your Youth
Is This Book Relevant to My Youth and Our Circumstances?
How This Book Will Help
How to Use This Book
PART 1: CHALLENGES AND GOALS FOR TRANSITION
1 CHALLENGES WITH THE TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD IN ASD
What You Will Learn in This Chapter
What is Lost When High School Ends?
What Is It Like for You as a Parent?
The Myth that it's Easy for the High Functioning
What Predicts a Positive Transition to Adulthood?
Intervention Programs and Case Managers
Robert's Story Continues
Final, Hopeful Thoughts
2 SETTING GOALS: WHO DEFINES SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION?
Understanding Different Perspectives
Where to Start with Goal-Setting
Why Not Turn This Over to a Professional?
Resistance and Unrealistic Goals
Life Beyond Goals
PART 2: HOW CAN PARENTS FOSTER A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION?
3 PROMOTING INDEPENDENCE
Why is Independence Challenging and How Can You Help?
What Can Go Wrong
Promoting Independence Successfully
When Should You Advocate for Your Youth?
Who Can Help You Promote Independence?
Assessing Specific Independence Skills
Teaching Specific Independence Skills
Prioritizing and Encouraging New Skills
4 OPTIMIZING EDUCATION
Preparing for the Future in High School
How Can You Work Effectively with High School Educators?
Overcoming Common Obstacles to Graduation
Which Post-Secondary Option is Best?
What Supports are Needed in My Youth's Post-Secondary Program?
To Disclose or Not to Disclose
Working with Post-Secondary Educators
5 OPTIMIZING EMPLOYMENT
What Works when Seeking Work?
Finding a Job through Networking
Supporting Steps in the Job Application Process
Should You Work with an Employment Agency?
Should Your Youth Pursue a Training Program for Job Seekers?
Supporting Young People in Maintaining Jobs
Don't Give Up!
6 PROMOTING PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
Why Health is a Particular Concern with ASD
How Child and Adult Health Providers Differ
Preparing Your Youth for Adult Medical Providers
Helping to Manage Chronic Conditions
Helping to Manage New/Unexpected Conditions
Preventing Health Problems
Final Thoughts on Your Role
7 PROMOTING SOCIAL ADAPTATION
The Gamut of Social Relationships
How Can You Help Maintain High School Friendships?
What Constitutes a Good Support Group?
How can You Deal with Your Youth's Online "Communities"?
What Dating Advice Do Autistic Young Adults Need?
How Can You Protect Your Youth from Victimization?
How Can You Protect Your Youth from Trouble with the Law?
8 A SUMMARY OF HELPFUL SUPPORTS
Youth Supports to Consider
Getting Your Youth On Board
What Should You Look for in a Supportive Professional?
What Support Programs would be Helpful for Your Youth?
How Can the Government Help?
What to Look For in a Supportive Friend or Family Member
Should You Go to a Support Group?
What is Respite and Where Do You Get Some?
PART 3: PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
9 PLANNING FOR THE LONG TERM: FINANCIAL ASPECTS
How Can You Plan for the Long Term When Youth Outcomes are Uncertain?
How Should You Save for Your Youth's Future Needs?
How Much Should You Tell Your Youth About Financial Matters?
Should You Apply for Guardianship or Financial Power of Attorney?
How Can You Ensure Government Benefits Continue Beyond Your Death?
Should You Involve a Trust Company?
What Needs to be Included in Your Will?
10 PLANNING FOR THE LONG TERM: SOCIAL ASPECTS
Can't This Wait Until You Sort Out Education and Employment?
What Happens if my Son or Daughter Loses Close Friends?
How can You Connect Youth with Supportive Communities?
What Are Some Options for Living Away from Home?
What is Required for Him or Her to Live Independently?
How Do You Decide on the Best Living Arrangements with Your Youth?
How Do You Judge the Degree of Support Your Youth Needs?
What About Having Your Youth Live With a Family Member?
Will My Son or Daughter Ever Marry?
11 RESILIENCE, REALISTIC HOPE, AND AVOIDING BURNOUT
Transition to Adulthood is a Family Affair
Helpful Actions and Attitudes to Reduce Burnout
Attending to Your Partner
Helping Your Autistic Youth's Siblings Cope
Your Youth's Place in the Family and Resilience
Course Corrections on the Road to Adulthood
Finding Realistic Hope
About the Author:
Katharina Manassis is Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto. She is a retired child psychiatrist and mother to an autistic son who has successfully transitioned to adulthood. She lives in Ontario, Canada.