Nick's Transition IEP is coming up and my goal is to get his entire team committed to making sure he leaves school with skills that will increase his independence. He's been in school for a long time now, and my emphasis is NOT on teaching him more in the classroom, rather I am focused on helping him generalize the skills that he has learned, in the real world.
|Nick going to sing in the choir |
At first the school would not build a custom IEP for him that meant him being out of the classroom, which we corrected in mediation. As a result he is only in his special day classroom for 1.5 periods. The remainder of the day is spent working in the the cafeteria, participating in Choir, being a teachers assistant for a PE coach, working on the school farm and participating in ceramics where he also assists the teacher. This plan insures that Nick has to interact with various people in various settings and is given the opportunity to apply what he has learned in the classroom to get a job, and feel good about himself.
That said I thought it was important to give everyone involved in the process a full perspective, because if I've learned anything, I've learned that I can take nothing for granted. You might want to share this too. It's an easy overview and it makes the case for every kiddo who wants to be more independent.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disability in the
United States. Beginning in the late 1980’s, autism diagnoses began to skyrocket,
now affecting 1 in 68 children in the United States: a 1350% increase since 1993,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This makes ASD more
common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined. An
estimated 1.5 million people in the U.S. and tens of millions worldwide are affected by
ASD. These children are now becoming young adults. About 50,000 young adults on the
autism spectrum turn 18 every year.
A Life Long Developmental Challenge
Addressing the epidemic of aging young adults with autism is a significant challenge for
families, our state, and our country. Autism is a life long developmental challenge. In the
coming decade as many as a half million children with autism will reach adulthood. Yet
very few residential and vocational development programs exist for them. The options
that do exist often have waiting lists of 8 to 10 years. Frequently, adults with autism are
placed in facilities or programs that are neither designed nor equipped to handle their
It's estimated that there will be a 300% increase in the number of young adults needing
residential services by 2020 with continued increases each year thereafter. These young
adults are aging out of the education system beginning this year.
No Pathway to Work
The growing demand for employment programs to support those with ASD has reached
a crisis level. Young adults with ASD in the U.S. workforce are scarce: 90% of people
with ASD are either unemployed or under-employed. Nearly seven years after graduating
from high school, 1 in 3 young adults with autism lack a college education, technical
training, or paid job experience. Only slightly more than half of young adults with autism
have ever worked for pay since leaving high school, according to a survey published in the
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Roughly 85% of
those with a moderate disability have worked and just 12% of the most severely disabled
have work experience. By comparison, young people with emotional disturbances,
learning disabilities, or impaired speech and language were roughly five times more likely
to have held a job. People with intellectual disabilities are twice as likely than those with
ASD to have been employed since high school.