Transition to adult services and adulthood for young people with autistic spectrum conditions

Project: Other projectMiscellaneous project

Project Details


There is some evidence from research that for many young people with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) the process of transition from child to adult services is problematic. Current policy developments and the growth of multi-agency working may lead to improvements in this situation. However, there is little research which can identify the components of models of good practice in transition services or the costs of such services. Further, there is little detailed research specifically on the transition experiences of young people with ASC and their families, or on the specific practices of transition services for such young people. This study will provide in-depth qualitative data on the support provided for young people with ASC and their families in five case study areas. This will include support provided by the multi-agency transition services and the support provided for any young people with ASC who do not meet eligibility criteria for such services. It will explore managers', staff, parents' and young people's views on the processes and outcomes of transition planning and support. Quantitative data on parents' and young people's satisfaction with service support; met and unmet needs; services used; and perceptions of receiving coordinated support, will also enable comparison between different services and different groups of young people with ASC.

Layman's description

Many young adults with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) fail to achieve their potential outcomes in the early years after leaving full-time education. Access to transition support and appropriate services within the adult sector are key issues. This study explored ways in which young people with ASC (including those with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome) are supported over the transition period and into young adulthood. It also sought to understand and describe the experiences of young adults and their parents during this period.

Key findings

Key Findings
● Some localities had developed systems which ensured all young people with a diagnosis of ASC
were supported in preparing for and planning leaving school.
● College careers could be foreshortened because mainstream colleges struggled to support
young people with ASC, particularly managing behavioural issues.
● Young people and their families lacked autism-specific advice and support as they anticipated
leaving further education.
● The absence of any meaningful daytime occupation, and the increased vulnerabilities associated
with greater independence, were enormous worries for parents.
● A lack of appropriate employment opportunities and insufficient (specialist) support to gain and
maintain employment, were key barriers to paid work.
● Young adults endorsed the benefits of autism-specific, preventive or ‘low intensity’ support.
Peer support opportunities were highly valued.
● Parents found themselves,
Effective start/end date1/11/0930/04/12


  • H Social Sciences (General)