There is starting to be more and more research for Young Adults (YA) on the spectrum and how to serve them in high school and out of high school. Thinking and planning for young adulthood after treatment is of paramount importance. (Much research can be found at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Drexel University.)
As with all out of home placements, before making a decision, and if possible, VISIT to have your young adult experience what the community is like and meet the professionals.
1. What level of support does your YA need?
Lower: mentoring and coaching, possible prescription distribution support, private apartment or dormitory living, therapist outside of program
Higher: 24/7 support/supervision in building, medicine distribution, group home, therapists or clinical support woven into the program
2. Does the program support ASD students only or a wider population? (Neither approach is necessarily preferable; the question is for you and the program to investigate for your young adult.)
3. Is there a weekly schedule or an individualized schedule? What are the minimum requirements of the program?
4. Besides “experiential”, what type of training do the staff undergo to help support ASD Young Adults?
5. How does the program teach independence, problem solving, self-advocacy?
6. Does the program offer any formal Social Pragmatics instruction?
7. What is the program’s method for providing “in vivo” (in the moment) social support?
8. What are the young adults engaged in on a daily basis? (ie college, vocational training, life skills training, etc.)
9. What are the program’s mechanisms and approaches for dealing with problematic or rule-breaking behavior?
10. Is the program in a city or town, or in an isolated or rural setting? How much access do the young adults have to the larger community (either supervised or unsupervised)?
11. What is the program’s approach to access to technology, as well as support for sleep hygiene, personal hygiene, food, diet, exercise, and other elements of self-care.
For more background information, please read All Kinds of Therapy’s Questions to Guide Parents when Touring Teen Residential Programs