Transitioning from high school to college or work

It was interesting to read that U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the effectiveness of federal programs that help students with disabilities transition from high school to college or the workforce. We at Easter Seals are painfully aware of how desperately families with autism need life-long services for their loved ones. This not only includes school-to-work transitions, but employment support, residential and community support, and financial planning, too.

Easter Seals has taken action to address these needs through participation in Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), a national consortium seeking to create meaningful futures for adults with autism.

The Justice For All activist blog quoted directly from a letter Congressman Miller wrote about existing programs serving students with disabilities after high school graduation:

“Currently, educators across the United States are striving to ensure that all public school students are college and career ready to enable their success in this global economy,” Miller wrote. “However, students with disabilities often face academic, physical, social, and economic challenges when transitioning from high school to postsecondary education or the workforce. As a result, they are less likely than other students to make this transition successfully.

“The federal government plays a significant role in supporting students with disabilities through a variety of programs. I remain concerned about whether federal efforts adequately provide a comprehensive, coordinated approach to transition services for youth with disabilities.”

Studies show that students with autism and other disabilities graduate high school at a far lower rate than their peers, and fewer still go on to college. In August 2010, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities was 15.6 percent. Good to hear Congressman Miller is looking into which programs are working — and which aren’t working — when it comes to transitioning students with autism and other disabilities from high school to post-secondary education and the work force.


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