A Guide to Transitioning to Adulthood
The transition from secondary school to adulthood is a pivotal time in the lives of all students. For a student with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) change of any kind can be challenging.
The purpose of transition planning is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them pathways and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and or independent/assisted living.
Early planning leads to a successful transition period. In practical terms, the earlier the transition process starts with thoughtful planning, good information and open communication with a “transition team” the more successful this transition will be, thereby reducing anxiety on everyone involved. We would recommend starting your transition plan when your young adult is 15-16 years old.
Effective transition requires an individual detailed plan that includes some or all of the following:
- Establish a Transition Team for your young adult. The transitioning period works best if it is a collaborative process. Team members will include: parent/guardian, teacher, principle, psychologist, social worker, occupational guidance officer (HSE), social worker, OT, Speech and Language therapist etc and anybody that you feel is relevant
- Assessment of your young adults needs, interests and abilities
- Statement of preferences for education, employment and adult living
- Identify responsible people or agencies to help with achieving your young adult’s goals
- Outline the steps needed to be taken in order to achieve the above goals
- Clarification of how roles will be co-ordinated
- A plan for identifying and obtaining the necessary funding
- Timeline to evaluate and review transition progress
Adult Autism Services
Adults diagnosed with ASD have access to a range of autism-specific services including Day, Residential and Respite Services, Further Education and Assisted/Independent Living.
The below booklet from the NCSE outlines these pathways in detail. It is important for parents/carers and individuals with a disability to make themselves fully informed and aware of all the choices in order to make the most suitable choice for post school options.
Adult Further Education Options for People with Disabilities
Increasing number of people with disabilities are graduating with higher education qualifications. This is because more support and services are now provided in line with student’s needs.
The following are some of the organisations that offer further education options to people with disabilities in Co. Louth and Co. Meath
- National Learning Network (Dundalk and Navan) — www.nln.ie
- Youth Reach — www.youthreach.ie
- WALK PEER Louth — www.walk.ie
- LMETB – Louth Meath Education Training Board
- DIFE – Drogheda Institute of Further Education — email@example.com
- O’Fiach College – Dundalk — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Further Education and Training Centre — email@example.com
- Irish Wheelchair Association — firstname.lastname@example.org
- DKIT – Dundalk Institute of Technology — email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
- AHEAD – Association for Higher Education Access and Disability — www.ahead.ie
- DARE - Disability Access Route to Education — www.accesscollege.ie/dare
Day, Residential and Respite Services, Further Education and Assisted/Independent Living
New Directions is one of the key policy documents contained in the HSE Transforming Lives Programme. It sets out sets out twelve supports that should be available to people with disabilities using 'day services'. It proposes that 'day services' should take the form of individualised outcome-focussed supports to allow adults using those services to live a life of their choosing in accordance with their own wishes, needs and aspirations. There is a structure set up within the nine HSE Community Healthcare Organisations (CHO) nationally to implement New Directions. These CHO New Directions Implementation Groups have representatives from every HSE funded adult day service provider within the CHO area.
You can contact New Directions at email@example.com or logon to the website https://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/4/disability/newdirections/ to find out more information.
HSE Occupational Guidance Officer for Co. Louth and Co. Meath
Martin Mc Sorley
Phone: 087 6759529
Service Providers of Day, Residential, Respite and Assisted Living in Co. Louth and Co. Meath
- The Talbot Group — www.talbotgroup.ie
- Prosper Meath — www.prospermeath.ie
- Praxis Care — www.praxisprovides.com
- Inspire — www.inspirewellbeing.org
- St. John of God — www.sjogfoundation.ie
- Malta Services — www.maltaservicesdrogheda.ie
- REHAB — www.rehabcare.ie
- Gheel Autism Services — www.gheel.ie
- Nua Healthcare — www.nuahealthcare.ie
- Moorehall Living — www.moorehallliving.ie
- Three Steps – Private Residential Service — www.threesteps.ie
Autism Support Louth & Meath host an annual Post 18 School Options Expo for People with Special Needs. This event is aimed at giving parents and young adults an opportunity to find out more about service providers and educational institutes, meet with key staff members, discuss transitioning and have any questions or concerns answered. By attending this event and other service provider’s open days, you can help to alleviate some of the anxiety that parents and students experience around transitioning from school to the next stage in their adult life.