Advocating for SupportS to Improve Service Transition (ASSIST)

The transition to adulthood is a time of high risk for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), who often come across tough experiences in their academic, vocational, and social lives. Difficulties in these and other areas become more apparent during the transition to adulthood when youth are gaining independence. Frequently, these challenges are made worse when autistic individuals and their families have problems accessing adult services. The adult service system is hard to navigate, and many youths on the spectrum face obstacles when being granted eligibility. Parents play a vital role as advocates in obtaining the services that satisfy their young adult's unique needs.

The goal of the ASSIST (Advocating for SupportS to Improve Service Transition) program is to equip parents with the knowledge, skills, and empowerment necessary to effectively advocate to expand services or resources available to their youth. Notably, because the adult service system landscape differs from state to state, previous parent advocacy training programs have only focused on state-specific information. We developed ASSIST to be nationally relevant. We have done this by presenting general aspects of nationally relevant services that can be tailored to be applicable across states. The information for each topic is presented using an introductory video and local expert presentations.