GAO Report: Autism Needs

The Government Accountability Office issued a report on November 17, 2016 concerning the services needed by youth with autism while transitioning to adulthood.  Although this report extends way beyond special education, a portion of the report deals with IDEA transition services.

In part, the report states:

"To support the educational needs of children with disabilities, Congress originally passed IDEA in 1975. IDEA requires states and local educational agencies to identify and evaluate children with disabilities and provide special education and related services to those who are eligible. Such services and supports are formulated in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and may include speech or occupational therapy and behavioral supports, among others. 

"The 2004 reauthorization of IDEA required that, beginning no later than age 16, a student’s IEP must include measurable postsecondary goals, based on age-appropriate transition assessments, related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills. 

"The IEP must specify the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. Not all youth with autism received timely transition planning services, according to an analysis of data from the Department of Education’s  National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2). 

That analysis showed that in 2009, 58 percent of young adults with ASD reported that they had been given a transition plan by the federally required age. This percentage was lower for youth from lower income households, African-American youth, and youth with the highest conversation skills."

If you deal with youth with autism, you should review this report.  You can review the highlights of the report here.  You can read the entire 52 page report here.