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Help support families caring for loved ones with autism. 

Children and young adults on the autism spectrum qualify for services through the public school system until they reach age 22. Depending on the current age of your child, 22 may seem like a long way away. However, it is important to begin preparing for the transition to adulthood and adult services as early as possible.  You will need to begin the informal process of transition planning with your child’s IEP team when your child reaches age 14. Below are some important milestones, tasks, and resources to help you along the way.

Remember that an autism specialist from our team can meet with you at any step along the way. Contact us at any time!

Age 14-16

  • Several types of assessments should be conducted by your child’s team, and should include input from the parent/guardians. Ask your child’s special education teacher for a list of assessments.
  • Pay special attention to your child’s educational and vocational interests, aptitudes, and skill development.
  • Update the Transition Planning Form first completed with the IEP team when your child was 14. You will continue to update this form annually.
  • DDS Transition Planning Page is a helpful resource to guide you through the transition planning process.

Age 17

  • Consider legal guardianship and begin the process if appropriate. Learn more about guardianship types and the legal process at the Massachusetts Guardianship Association.
  • Get a state identification card and passport for your child. You can get a Massachusetts I.D. at a DMV office and a passport application at select post offices.
  • Complete medical or dental procedures that will require your child's consent, or that of a legal guardian, after their 18th birthday.
  • Collect documentation for the Department of Developmental Services adult eligibility application.
  • Complete the Social Security benefits application before your child’s 18th birthday. Contact a Social Security office at least 30 days in advance to gain an understanding of eligibility requirements.