Autism Spectrum


leaving school and leading your own life

Where you’re at


As the end of high school approaches, it is a good idea to look at your son or daughter’s strengths and weaknesses to be aware of how they are managing in life, and where their skills and passions lie.

With people varying so widely along the autism spectrum, no two people will be the same. Some will show great strengths in some areas, but they may be far behind in others.


Now that school is over, it not that important for my son to know about say World War 2, or angles or the great painters.


It is important for him to be able to go to our local shops and buy himself a drink and some food.

Vicki G


At this stage, for us parents, it’s time for a shift in thinking. We need to work out where our children are at, and what matters most from now on.

In order to develop a plan for the future, we need to decide where to focus our energy for this transition period.


Let’s look at this young person in front of us and think about who she wants to become.


We need to look at what’s important to her.  


We need to look at what might hold her back from living the life of her choice.

Vicki G



Do we need to do a professional assessment?

Some families and carers do choose to have their child fully assessed. This usually means going to a psychologist and having a range of tests performed that measure learning ability, current autism symptoms, and daily living skills.

This kind of testing can be helpful in gaining awareness of how your son or daughter is doing. Sometimes psychologists can work with careers advisors to suggest the sorts of careers that might be suitable.


Doing your own skills assessment

Alternatively, you can do your own skills assessment using some excellent resources.

The US-based Autism Consortium has a section on Transitioning Teens on their website, which has an comprehensive checklist.

It’s called the Adolescent Autonomy checklist. You can print if off from the website and use it to assess where your son or daughter is doing well, and where they may be needing more assistance.  

Adolescent Autonomy checklist is here.


Autism Speaks has also got a new and very comprehensive Community-based Skills Assessment which can be downloaded from there website here.


Click on Our Stories on the right hand side of the page, or click here to read personal stories from other parents.


Book – Preparing For Life

The book Preparing For Life by Dr Jed Baker has a curriculum of social skills and instructions on how to teach them. It also includes a handy checklist of essential social skills.


Book – The Social and Life Skills Menu

The Social and Life Skills Menu by Karra M Barber also outlines a number of essential life skills with activities to support teaching them.