Autism Transition Project


With support from the Nelson and Michelle Carbonell Family Foundation, CHHCS at The George Washington University School of Public Health initiated the Autism Transition Project (ATP), a two-year project to study how students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are being prepared to move from the public schools into employment or additional education in the community.

The goal of this project is to better understand what can be done to ensure that students with an ASD get the best available transition planning services and support while in the public school system. This work will also focus on better understanding what transition-related resources, tools and technical support are currently available, which have been most/least helpful to parents and schools, what are the best delivery mechanisms for support and technical assistance (for example, one-on-one, on-line, or group trainings) and what language and cultural adaptations may be needed to increase accessibility of tools and resources.

Throughout the project, we are connecting with parents of adolescents or young adults with an ASD who have recently, or are currently, going through the transition process and are willing to share their experiences with us. We are also talking with staff professionals in local schools in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to learn about the challenges they experience in providing transition services. Our objective is to determine what tools and resources they need in order to ensure that every student with an ASD is receiving quality transition planning before leaving the public school system.

Using what we learn from parents and school personnel, the project team will identify strengths and challenges currently associated with transition planning and services. This information will be shared with educators and parents as a path to reinforcing transition planning and services. The ultimate goal is to assure that students with an ASD and their families experience greater support and success during the transition from school to adulthood.

The ATP research team is a collaborative group of investigators from The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, and the Department of Health Policy at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Principal Investigator: Olga Acosta Price and Co-Investigators: Donna Behrens and Stephanie David and Senior Research Assistant: Molly Biehl.