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Monday, February 24, 2014

Transitions into Adulthood Part 1

As we think about our children on the spectrum, a lot of focus goes into the little ones who are going through elementary or middle school. While it is important to focus on these years, it is also important to think about the future and how that might look for our young adults who are on the spectrum. There are some major areas to consider during your child's transition into adulthood. These areas include:

  • Work
  • Recreation and Leisure Activities
    • Including Socialization
  • Independent Living
  • Education
Typically, as children continue through school these areas should all be addressed. However, there are activities you can do at home to help your child with their transition into the adult world. Throughout the next couple of months, I will touch on each of the major thinking points that were listed. I will discuss activities that you could consider doing at home to help with this transition. 


There are many skills that go into helping a young adult be ready for their first job. Some of these skills include personal hygiene, appropriate social skills, staying on task, and working. Below are a few ideas to use at home to help your child get ready for their first job.

  1. Have your child complete work tasks at home. Give them a list of jobs to complete per day. They should check off each item on the list as they go. Let them decide what they are working for. Here is an example: 

  2. Have your child complete a "Daily Hygiene" routine to help them understand appropriate work place etiquette. Here is another example:  
  3. Use a timer to help your child understand when something is over or that it is time to change activities. Once your child understands how to respond to a timer, or that the activity is over this skill can be carried over into their jobs. A timer can be used to indicate that a work break is over, it is time to move onto their next duty, etc.
  4. Have your child learn to tell time and wear a watch. Not only is this an important life skill, but it will also help them as they learn to read and follow schedules.  
  5. Think about jobs they be interested in when it is time for them to enter the work force. Talk about what skills they have that would help a certain job be a good fit for them. Also talk about what skill(s) they might need to have to be able to perform the duties of different jobs. 
  6. Have students practice filling out job applications online. You could even create a document that contains all of the common information that is asked for when filling out an application (i.e.- name, address, SS#, etc.) Your child can then reuse this document as they go through the application process.  
  7. Let students earn money or a "paycheck" at home to help them understand the concept of working for a paycheck. 
  8. Begin to think about what transportation will look like for your child once they do start work. Ask teachers and other professionals for information about the types of transportation services that are provided and/or available in your local community.
  9. Have a weekly and/or monthly schedule at home for children to follow. List the activities you will be doing throughout the week. Once again, this will help them to understand how to read and follow a schedule.
  10. Use schedules consistently. You may not realize how many schedules we have to follow daily. As your child gets ready to start their new jobs they may have to read transportation schedules (depending on how they will get to and from work,) job duty schedules and weekly work schedules, but the list can go on and on. 
There are many skills and activities that are important in helping anyone get ready to enter the working world, let alone someone who is dealing with life on the spectrum. The more we can do to help ease this huge life development, the better! It is with hope that these few tips help you as you assist your child going through this stage of life! Happy Working!!

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