Transition Youth and Employment

Core Principle 5

Person-Centered planning is key to the development of effective services and supports for transition-age youth

Person-Centeredness is the core element to all effective planning. Regardless of when a team begins planning or who the members of the team are, there will always be the need to keep the individual as the nucleus. Conversations about services and programs should generate after the youth's interests, needs and goals have been established. When the focus of planning becomes 'the program' or 'the service', the individual is in danger of being replaced as the central theme of planning.

Individuals with ASD have qualities and attributes that some team members may find unique. Interestingly, this uniqueness can challenge a vision or enhance expectations dependent on the way a person is viewed. Capitalizing on the unique possibilities and identifying the unique needs can help build a foundation for successful future planning for employment.

Implications for transition teams:

  • Be aware that individuals with ASD may have strengths that are overshadowed by areas of need. Conversely, some individuals present with needs that hide their talents and skills. In either case, formal and/or informal services and supports should be identified and provided to create success on the job. Team members should take caution not to predetermine success based on initial observations or opinions.

  • Individuals with ASD often have narrow interests and preferred patterns of behavior. While on the surface these traits may seem to be an obstacle to successful employment, through person-centered planning, these 'challenges' can sometimes become the path to employment success given the appropriate support.


Person-Centered Planning Made Easy: The PICTURE Method by Steve Holburn, Anne Gordon, Peter M. Vietze

Successful person-centered planning results in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living, working, and learning in their own communities. The PICTURE method manual includes practical tools, a helpful troubleshooting guide and evaluation exercises as well as other resources to assist in removing barriers to person-centered planning.

Available through the Lending Library at OCALI.

Employment First Rule Companion

Developed in partnership with self-advocacy groups, this colorful Easy Read document explains the Employment First Rule for all audiences. Teams can  incorporate this tool in the person-centered planning process as well.

Autism Employment Toolkit

Download the Autism Speaks Employment Toolkit for stories, tools and tips that assist individuals with ASD to increase participation in planning and decision-making about employment.

Person-Centered Planning with MAPS and PATH: A Workbook for Facilitators by John O’Brien & Jack Pearpoint

This practical workbook highlights  two person-centered methods of planning, Making Action Plans (MAPS) and Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope (PATH).  Each have unique features, yet share a number of basic values and strategies. These approaches can be used by teams to create an individualized vision of community employment  while identifying the necessary supports to realize the goal.

Available through the Lending Library at OCALI.