For families who have a child on the autism spectrum, the idea of them approaching adulthood can be daunting. Thinking about the next steps can after school can help make the transition away from the highly structured and supervised environment of school seem a little less scary. With a little planning and some creative thinking anything is possible, I can help you set some small goals that can lead into larger goals to ensure that your child has the quality of life that they deserve.

Here are a few easy steps for you to follow to help support your child in their first steps away from school:

  1. Take some time to think of their current interests and strengths. Often parents are prompted to do this during the early years, but it is just important to do this for adolescents as well. Why? It can help you support them in getting involved with or working alongside people who share common interests, or it can help you understand more about how they would like to spend their time when they are not at school.
  2. Match these interests and strengths with activities, people, training opportunities, course or volunteer work in your local area. Reach out to people and explain your story, you will be surprised howe receptive people are when you are honest and open with them.
  3. Think about any daily life skills that you are child is working on developing, Examples include showering independently, crossing the road safely, exchanging money, understanding public and private spaces. Set small and achievable goals for how you are going to help your child learn these new skills to help them build their levels of independence. Be open and honest with your child’s therapy team and ask for their input if you need to.
  4. Think outside the box. Not one individual on the autism spectrum is the same so you may need to use creative thinking to help them find their place outside of school. Write down a list of places or opportunities that you would like child to visit or be involved with then go ahead and do some research. You may be surprised to learn what is in your local area.
  5. Remember: Rome was not built in a day!! Any transition will take time. Plan some small steps towards a bigger goal, your child’s firs goal may be to walk independently down the main street of your local town. Work towards that then begin to branch out.

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