Employment and the Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Age Appropriate Transition Assessment

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Individualized assessment processes that generate authentic data about a person lay the foundation for transition and career planning. In the IEP process this is referred to as Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment (AATA) and is reflected in the Employment First Core Principle 5, which identifies Person-Centered Planning (PCP) as a key feature of the transition process. AATA includes the valuable information generated from PCP, but may go further and utilize additional processes for individualized data collection and information.

Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment (AATA):

  • Identifies the student’s PINS or Preferences, Interests, Needs and Skills/Strengths
  • Defines the targets for meaningful employment goals
  • Requires multiple methods of gathering data and is best accomplished by a team
  • Reflects formal and informal assessment processes in order that a team has sufficient data to develop the employment goal and create a transition plan

Authentic and accurate assessment data is the foundation for making decisions, developing goals and determining needed supports and services.This means that individuals with ASD require assessment processes that are sensitive to the characteristics of ASD. Assessment materials and processes that use social and communication norms and assume that these are easily understood by the person may create additional stress and challenges for those with ASD. The assessment results may indicate lack of skill or knowledge of a subject due to the difficulties of the person with ASD understanding what is being asked or misinterpreting subtleties of a process. Unless processes and tools are individualized, the assessment itself can become a barrier to gathering accurate data of the individual's knowledge and skills!

Once an individual has graduated vocational and career assessments may continue. In these situations, the same considerations discussed for AATA will apply to assessment process in the adult world. During the school years, individuals with ASD can make great progress towards achieving their goals. However, the core features of ASD still may create challenges, especially in unfamiliar or stressful situations such as work trials, interviews, and new environments. Assessment processes must be administered, monitored and interpreted by a team that understands these issues and implications.

The planning, implementation and interpretation of assessment data is of great significance to the process of career development. So much so that one of the four OCALI Transition to Adulthood Guides focuses solely on the processes of Age Appropriate Transition Assessment.
Review this guide on the OCALI Website

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