Transition Youth and Employment

Core Principle 1

Competitive, integrated employment is the expectation for all youth with disabilities

High Expectations are Key! Unless we expect success, success will not simply happen. Employment goals that reflect meaningful jobs and equitable earnings should result in transition plans and services that are likely to prepare the student for productive employment outcomes. When there is no expectation of competitive integrated employment, services and support may focus on activities that have little significance to adult life.

Individuals with ASD often possess multiple talents that align with skill sets needed in today's workforce. However, sensory sensitivities and challenges with executive functioning and workplace social competencies can present barriers to employers recognizing these potential talents.

Implications for transition teams:

  • Include in transition assessment those processes that collect authentic information about how the characteristics of ASD may support specific careers or jobs, as well as what types of adaptations or strategies may be necessary to support challenges resulting from the characteristics of ASD.

  • Explore and identify school based strategies that have been effective and adapt as needed for future employment environments and adult life.

  • Provide information about ASD for the professionals and natural supports that will be with the youth in the future employment environments.


Real Work for Real Pay: Inclusive Employment by Paul Wehman Ph.D., Katherine Ingle Ph.D.

Real Work for Real Pay is a collection of current best practices, employment theories and policies, and specific tools that support positive change in the workplace and assist individuals to realize the benefits of real work and real pay. The information in this book is helpful for intervention specialists in middle and high school, those designing professional development and for family members.

Available through the Lending Library at OCALI.


Backwards Planning: Tools and Process

Begin with the end in mind! Planning processes that start with the expectation of community employment and then work backwards to identify important steps are using a Backwards Planning process. Tools available on the Ohio Employment First website provide guidance to develop a single plan designed to support a young person through high school and into the first years of adulthood, as they assume adult roles as an employee, a life-long learner and a community member.


Sam's Canterbury Cafe

Creating competitive wage jobs in Baltimore, this cafe, ran by individuals on the autism spectrum, encourages the development of self- advocating skills and finding their voice in the community.