Panel Discussion - Bridging the Gap: Transitioning from adolescence to adulthood with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Professor Jacqueline Roberts
Trevor Beasley – Transition & Complex Case Management Officer, Mackenzie Special School
James Cifuentes – Network Manager, The I CAN Network
Cheryl Mangan – Manager Research Translation, Autism CRC
Helen Whelan – Founder & CEO, Code Blue for Autism
Leaving school and transitioning to adulthood presents challenges for all adolescents and their families, however it can be particularly stressful for families living with disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). While young people with ASD are ambitious and aspirational, they commonly experience poor transition outcomes including unemployment, limited participation in further education and low rates of independent living and social networking.
Limited availability of appropriate and affordable services has led to poor vocational and educational outcomes for people with ASD with average or above average intellectual capacities. Current services are constrained by funding limitations and professionals appropriately trained to work with adults with ASD. This service environment results in many young people with ASD and their families experiencing high levels of unmet needs, and struggling to navigate the transition process largely by themselves.
Education is recognised as a basic human right in Australia - equity in education has been supported by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The DDA promotes equity through social inclusion, and has positively impacted the education of people with disabilities evidenced by the 94% increase in students with disabilities attending university since 2008 [Universities Australia. Data Snapshort. 2017]. However, the DDA does not mandate transition planning, a recognised gap in the current system, with many young people with disabilities still struggling to find clear pathways during their transition to adulthood.
In this special panel discussion, Professor Jacqueline Roberts of the Autism Centre of Excellence, Griffith University will be joined by Helen Whelan, Founder & CEO of Code Blue for Autism, Trevor Beasley, Transition and Complex Case Management Officer of Mackenzie Special School, Cheryl Mangan, Manager Research Translation at Autism CRC, University of Queensland and James Cifuentes, Network Manager of The I CAN Network to discuss the current research and literature available, as well as lived experiences of the unique issues that arise for adolescents with ASD, the services available to support them, and what schools and teachers can do to assist students transitioning to post-school life.
Presented in association with the exhibition 'Keg de Souza: Common Knowledge and Learning Curves', Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane.