The National Institute of Health highlighted a study this month, showing that autistic teens and young adults who are not given awareness and guidance for navigating their “differences” into adulthood, and in the job force, face odds that are grim; preparation needs to happen early and must evolve as needs change.
This research reminded me of all the things that are important to ask a treatment program when you are enrolling a student on the spectrum…
Questions for Parents to Ask a Potential Program
How do you quantify or qualify the social skills and development needed for success?
Where do your students transition post-residential treatment? Is there a typical placement or do you have specialized options based on client’s growth? (This is where a family needs to chime in on their hopes and dreams and get them on the table.)
When do plans for transition start to happen with the student, family? (Programs & Referring Professionals are generally planning without bringing the family into the process so that you can focus on what is happening.)
What type of students do you serve on the spectrum?
What is unique about your program? How do you serve your clients? Do you incorporate research in your service?
As with all out of home placements, before making a decision, and if possible, VISIT and/or hire a professional (consultant, placement expert, interventionist, psychologist who knows ASD program, etc). The key to any professional resource is that they have experience placing students in the programs that you are looking at. They have visited and have professional relationships to help you navigate through the process.
Beyond ASD specific questions, please read more here for general questions that parents might want to think about when visiting teen residential treatment programs.