Who's Ready?: Predictors of Transition Planning for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Objectives: The current study aims to identify a set of factors that may predict: 1) presence of Transition Assessments in the IEP, 2) presence of Transition Goals in the IEP, and 3) the presence of Transition-focused courses/services included in IEP. The following potential predictors will be examined: severity of ASD symptoms, age and gender, as well as parenting self-efficacy of their parents.
Methods: The parents of 26 adolescents with ASD (19 male; age range 11-22, M = 15.5, SD = 2.8) from a rural, underserved region, completed questionnaires prior to participation in a transition training group. Parents filled out a post-secondary transition checklist for families, the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) as a measure of ASD symptom severity, and the Parenting Self-Efficacy Scale (PSES) as a measure of parent self-efficacy. Three logistic regressions were conducted to test the impact of ASD severity, parental self-efficacy, and age on transition outcomes.
Results: In this sample, approximately half of the adolescents had TPs in their IEPs. Results indicated that older age predicted the presence of Transition Assessments (p = .04) and presence of Transition Services/Courses present in adolescents IEPs (p = .04). Lower PSES scores also predicted the presence of Transition Assessments on the IEP (p = .01). Gender and ASD symptom severity were not evinced as significant predictors of any TP factors.
Conclusions: Results of this study indicate that age is a prominent predictor of the presence of Transition Assessments and Goals in the IEP of youth with ASD. This suggests a potentially problematic pattern in TPs for youth with ASD, wherein TPs become an IEP focus only when graduation is imminent, rather than based on individualized needs. Existing literature suggests that outcomes may be considerably better for youth with early TPs (e.g., Cobb & Alwell, 2009). Further, lower parenting self-efficacy predicted the presence of Transition Assessments, suggesting that parents with lower parenting self-efficacy are more inclined to seek out TPs through the school system.