On Saturday March 8, the Marin Autism Collaborative held its annual meeting, where parents and service providers shared information and resources about transition planning for individuals with ASD.
Panel #1: Pathways to Transition Planning
Transitions are often difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Matthew Tarver-Wahlquist, the Director of Residential Services at the Cedars of Marin, moderated the panel, which discussed resources, preparations, and advice for teenagers transitioning away from high school. Beth DeWitt, County Manager at GGRC, Diane McNamara, Program Manager at Marin Special Education Local Plan Area, and Anne Goodrich, Secondary Program Specialist at Novato Unified School District, discussed services available for transition planning for individuals with ASD. A plan can help ease the difficulty of transitioning and provide a reasonable framework for reaching goals. Typically, your teen’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) should indicate whether or not the child is on a diploma track or a certificate path, as well as post-secondary goals. Parents Janet Miller and Janet Lawson (also the founder of Autistry) discussed their personal experience with transition planning for their ASD child. During transition years, parents and service providers stressed the importance of letting children explore interests and help them navigate choices as well as to encourage them to advocate for themselves.
Panel #2: Community Living Options: Live, Work, and Play
Moderated by Matthew Tarver-Wahlquist, the panel shared information on available services and resources in Marin County. Beth DeWitt, the County Manager of the GGRC, Linda Wohlrabe, the Executive Director of the Opportunity for Independence, and Nancy Dow Moody, the President & CEO of Lifehouse, talked about residential housing services, supportive living services, day programs, and recreation programs available to the ASD community.
LynnEl Powell and Janet Miller, who are both parents of children with ASD, shared their experiences on the availability of services for individuals with ASD. Parents also shared advice on accessing ASD services as adults. Some parents suggested that all school assessments and academic records be kept for proof when applying for ASD programs as adults.
Panel #3: Young Adults Share their Stories
This panel, which was moderated by Janet Lawson, the founder of Autistry Studios, starred members of Autistry Studios; Marin Xiques April Evans, Ross Jacobs, Steven Waite, and Josh Foley. These inspirational young adults with ASD shared their personal experiences and challenges on transitioning from high school to adulthood. Many of the panelists said that they do not disclose their ASD unless they feel comfortable. During transition years, the panelists also noted that parents sometimes need to step back and let kids make decisions.
The MAC Annual Meeting 2014 covered transition planning and how to navigate life and access to services as adults with ASD. Please find below the resources that were provided at the meeting from various organizations in Marin County. The list of publications and local/national agencies was made possible by Stephanie Smith of the Parent Matrix Network.
Transition Planning Resources:
Example and Case Study of Transition Plans, SELPA
Parent Involvement Activities for Transition
Standards Based IEP Development
Matrix Parent and Resource Center Special Education Transition Plan
Cypress Vocational and Therapeutic Services Program Flyer
CA Department of Rehabilitation, Employment and Independence for Californians with Disabilities
Golden Gate Regional Center, Employment First Initiative Policy
List of Publications and Agencies (made by Stephanie Smith of the Matrix Parent Network), also available below.
Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit, comprehensive national autism organization
Creating a Path to Employment: Tips for Parents with Children with Disabilities, Office of Disability Employment Policy, US Dept of Labor
Essential Skills to Getting a Job: What Young People Need to Know, Office of Disability Employment Policy, US Dept of Labor
Going to College: A Resource for Teens with Disabilities, Going to College-national resource for teens
Guideposts for Success, national collaborative on Workforce and disability
Planning for Transition: It’s Never too Soon, PACER National Champions for Children with Disabilities
Transition Planning: The Basics (IEP), California Transition Alliance
Transition to Adult Living: An Information and Resource Guide, CalStat Project of California, Dept. of Education, Special Education
Local and National Agencies:
ASCEND (San Francisco), Education, Networking, Development and Support
Autism After 16 (national), online resources
Autistry Studios (San Rafael), Prevocational workshops, counseling
California Department of Rehabilitation (Novato), employment, independent living
Casa Allegra (San Rafael), living, employment, education
Cedars of Marin (Ross), comprehensive national autism organization
College Internship Program (Berkeley), college and career support, Asperger’s
College Living Experience- CLE (Monterey), support during college
College of Marin Disability Student Services (Marin County), support services during college
Cornerstone Community Homes (Novato), residential services
Cypress Vocational and Therapeutic Services, transitional programs, vocational
Family Works (San Rafael), independent living skills
Golden Gate Regional Center, services and funding for qualified individuals with special needs
Integrated Community Services (San Rafael), employment, housing, recreation, information
Life Works (Sonoma County), transition support, Asperger’s
Lifehouse (San Rafael), residential and support services for adults, supported living. Teen and adult recreation
Marin Ventures (San Rafael), Day Programs
Matrix Parent Network and Resource Center (Novato), parent training, resource and information for parents of children with special needs from birth to 26
Moving Forward Towards Independence (Napa), residential, supported living, vocational
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (national), online resources
National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (national), online resources
Opportunity for Independence (San Rafael), vocational, behavioral, recreational, supported living, day program, education
Regional Occupation Program (San Rafael), Marin County Office of Education
School to Career Partnership (Marin County), Marin County Office of Education
Sweetwater Spectrum (Sonoma County), housing
Think College! (national), college options for people with intellectual disabilities
TransCen, Inc, (San Francisco), Improving employment outcomes
Transition Coalition (national), online resources
WineBev (Napa), day programs and employment