Leaving high school
Most services for individuals and families with ASD focus on early development and the school years. Consequently, adult services in Australia are under-resourced to manage the period of transition as adolescents with ASD exit the school system and enter adulthood.
Better Outcomes and Successful Transition for Autism (BOOST-A)
To provide support when transitioning out of high school, we have developed the Better Outcomes and Successful Transitions for Autism (BOOST-A): a web-based, autism-specific program. BOOST-A supports the development of future job pathways and employment-readiness skills.
A quasi-randomised controlled trial has determined that BOOST-A increases career exploration, self-determination and planning skills. Findings support the need for strengths-based and autism-specific transition planning. Currently, there are plans for BOOST-A across Australia, including training on how to use the program.
- Hatfield, M., Falkmer, M., Falkmer, T. and Ciccarelli, M. Effectiveness of the BOOST-A™ online transition planning program for adolescents on the autism spectrum: A quasi-randomised controlled trial. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. 2017; 11(54):1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13034-017-0191-2 (open access)
- Hatfield, M., Falkmer, M., Falkmer, T. and Ciccarelli, M. Process Evaluation of the BOOST-A™ Transition Planning Program for Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum: A Strengths-Based Approach. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,Early view. 2017; 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3317-8 Link:
- Hatfield, M., Murray, N., Ciccarelli, M., Falkmer, T. & Falkmer, M. Pilot of the BOOST-A: An online transition planning program for adolescents with autism. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal,Early View. 2017; 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12410
- Hatfield, M., Falkmer, M., Falkmer, T. & Ciccarelli, M. “Leaps of faith”: Parent and professional viewpoints on preparing adolescents on the autism spectrum for leaving school. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs. 2017; 17(3):187-197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12377
- Hatfield, M., Ciccarelli, M., Falkmer, T. & Falkmer, M. Factors related to successful transition planning for adolescents on the autism spectrum. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, Early View. 2017; 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-3802.12388
- Hatfield, M., Falkmer, M., Falkmer, T. & Ciccarelli, M. Evaluation of the effectiveness of an online transition planning program for adolescents on the autism spectrum: Trial protocol. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.2016; 10(48):1-11.
Jia White will utilise her background in education and curriculum development to develop a program to support students on the autism spectrum to more effectively transition from school to adult activities. Transitions can be demanding and challenging for students on the autism spectrum, often resulting in a lower quality of life. Work experience, with rich peer interactions, is a well-known method of support for students to successfully transition into post-school activities and ultimately meaningful occupation.
This proposed project aims to develop strategies for the inclusion of work experience in the early stages of transition planning for secondary students on the autism spectrum. Peer-mentoring will be a central focus of the project to contribute to the students’ sense of belonging in the school community. The goal of the project is to support students as well as their parents and teachers, identifying strengths, interests and preferences for post-secondary pursuits through work experiences and peer mentoring.