High School (Grades 9-12)
In high school typical teenagers continue to individuate from parents while the peer group becomes increasing more important. ASD will look different in high school as it has throughout your child’s life. The consistency of the symptoms is not as important as the consistency in the domains that are challenged. Dating and friendship challenges will be evident individuals. Being safe and independent in the community may be an issue. Diagnosis during this time will require providing your doctor with information that describes your child’s ability not only in his index but also in how he functions in the community. Remember that some individuals are not diagnosed with an ASD until this time. The increased need for social skills, problem solving and flexibility that is needed to be successful in high can become apparent in individuals that have frequently relied on their abilities to get them through school. It is not uncommon to find individuals who get a diagnosis later in life were giving other diagnosis before autism. Getting a diagnosis might not be seen as being relevant or necessary. However most people who get a diagnosis later in life report they are glad they did and that the diagnosis helped them understand themselves better. The below video was developed for Secondary Teachers but families can watch this video and learn what characteristics of ASD might look like in High School age children.
A Roadmap to “Life After High School”
By Guest Blogger Tracey Fecher, Vice President of Programs for Community Gatepath
Throughout the next decade, more than half a million young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in America will be “aging-out” of the education system when they turn 21 or 22. Those statistics are alarming. Families will face overwhelming changes when the systems that have been in place to support both child and family disappear once school services end. The premiere of NBC Dateline’s investigative report, “On the Brink,” earlier this week created a great buzz in the autism community across the nation, effectively shining a spotlight on this crisis. Camera crews documented the emotional journey of two families, during the course of a few years, who navigated this important transition in their child’s life.
ASD is the fastest growing developmental disability nationally. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people diagnosed with ASD is increasing rapidly and expected in some states to double during the next decade. Federal and state governments must respond to the growing demand for adequate support systems and services for adults so individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities can thrive and aren’t left floundering when they no longer have the education system that has supported them since they were preschoolers.
Young people with autism and their families need tools to help them prepare for the transition into adulthood. The mother of one of the young men highlighted in “On the Brink” described this life-phase as equivalent to sadly being “pushed off a cliff.”
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Click on the links below for more information about autism.