Person-Centered Planning for Students with Autism 
Everyday transitions can be difficult for some students with autism. Knowing how students cope with small transitions is essential for long-term transition planning. Transition planning for adulthood can be easier if teachers begin early, engage the students in preparatory activities and ensure the process is person-centered.
Be READY to empower students with autism to drive their transition process. 
  Begin working with students on transition skills as early as possible. Teaching students to recognize preferences, strengths, needs, and interests is essential for creating a person-centered transition process (Organization for Autism Research, 2006). Limited communication skills or interfering behaviors can often prevent students' ability to drive their transition process (Autism Speaks Inc., 2011).
SET a course of action by using person-centered planning.
  When beginning this process, the student, the parent, and the teacher must all be considered, while keeping at the forefront the student's learning preferences and communication method. According to the Organization for Autism Research (2006):

The student
» builds self-awareness of how autism impacts aspects of education, job choice, independent living, and other daily tasks.
» develops an understanding of strengths and weaknesses and the opportunities for continual growth.

The parent
» names the possibilities for his/her individual student and not minimizing potential based on school responses or options.
» knows the law and the opportunities that are afforded to students with autism.

The teacher
» sets goals with students based on interests and strengths.
» communicates successes and constructively problem solves towards attainment of goals.
To learn more, GO to:
  » Organization for Autism Research (OAR) uses applied science to answer questions that parents, families, individuals with autism, teachers, and caregivers confront daily.

» OAR's Transition Guide -Life Journey Through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood.

» The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder (NPDC) promotes the use of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for children and youth with autism.

» NPDC: Evidence-Based Practices - Interventions that research has shown to be effective when working with individuals with autism.

» Autism Internet Modules cover evidence-based practices (EBPs), as well as topics such as assessment & identification, characteristics, transition to adulthood, and employment.

» A Manual for Person-Centered Planning Facilitators, developed by A.N. Amado & M. McBride of The University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration, is a manual to be used to increase person-centered thinking, and to improve the quality of person-centered planning.
References and Resources
* Amado, A.N., & McBride, M. (2001). Increasing Person-Centered Thinking: Improving the Quality of Person-Centered Planning: A Manual for Person-Centered Planning Facilitators. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.
* Organization for Autism Research. (2006). Life Journey through Autism: A Guide for Transition to Adulthood.
This news brief is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers at George Mason University and James Madison University. This issue was prepared by the staff of the VDOE TTAC at James Madison University. For questions about content, please contact Amanda Randall at, Jess Rodriguez at, and Kendal Swartzentruber at or call 540.568.6746.