Outcomes of a family-centered transition process for students with autism spectrum disorders

Authors: Ham, W., McDonough, J., Molinelli, A., Schall, C., & Wehman, P.
Year Published 2012
Publication Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities
Volume 27
Number 1
Pages 42-50
Publisher Sage

The federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires transition planning for students with disabilities in the United States who are 16 years or older. Even with required transition planning, few young adults with ASD transition from school into employment or higher education, and many attend sheltered workshops or day activity programs.


The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a transition planning approach that empowers students with ASD and their families, educates them about the transition process, and helps them connect with community resources on the transition readiness of youth with ASD.


The setting was public high schools located in New Hampshire and Maine.


The study sample included 47 youth transitioning from high school to adult life with ASD.

Data Collection

Standardized surveys were used to measure the impact of the project on student and parent expectations for the future, self-determination and vocational decision making ability. Data was collected at enrollment and 12 months later.


The control condition was transition planning as usual.


The group receiving family transitions services reported significantly higher student expectations for the future, parent expectations for the future, self-determination, and vocational decision-making ability. None of these variables improved significantly for the control group.


For students with ASD, the family-centered transition planning model shows promise as an effective, evidence-based transition practice.

URL http://foa.sagepub.com/content/27/1/42.refs?patientinform-links=yes&legid=spfoa;27/1/42
Disabilities Autism Spectrum Disorder
Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Other
Research Design Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
Peer Reviewed Yes