Element Six: Involve Needed Adult Service Agencies and Providers
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Many youth with ASD will continue to need adaptations, supports and services as they move into adult employment and community membership. However, IDEIA entitlement only extends to when the student graduates high school. It is critical that the agencies and organizations that will continue the support become involved in the planning while the student is in high school. While there is no rigid guideline for when adult service agencies or community organizations can become involved in the student’s transition planning, it is best to err on the side of adding the partners to the team too early than too late. These team members bring invaluable knowledge and experience to develop a meaningful person-centered transition plan that can enhance and improve successful adult outcomes. In some cases, agencies can also provide service prior to graduation.
Importance of Connecting Early
Availability of, and eligibility for, agency services varys for students based on identified need, level of skill, and the identified adult goals. Connecting early to adult community resources allows time to:
become familiar with the agencies and services
address questions and concerns
complete required procedures
create the necessary linkages to prevent a gap in service at the point of graduation.