Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Living Edition
| Editors: Fred R. Volkmar


  • Laura G. KlingerEmail author
  • Katerina M. Dudley
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6435-8_102314-1


The transition from adolescence to adulthood (i.e., ages 18–25) is a critical developmental period often marked with multiple stressors as individuals become more independent and explore new roles (e.g., living independently, employment, and postsecondary education). For individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), this period is particularly difficult, with most exiting high school and leaving behind the integrated child services and supports they once knew. There is an urgent need to study outcomes and effective transition to adulthood interventions to help support individuals with ASD and their families during this time.

Historical Background

Current prevalence estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate a 178% increase in school-age children diagnosed with ASD from 1 in 150 8-year-olds in 2002 to 1 in 54 8-year-olds in 2016 (Maenner et al. 2020). Of note, the first cohort of children in these CDC studies is now 26 years old,...

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This work would not have been possible without the contributions of Glenna Osborne and Tamara Dawkins who helped create and implement the T-STEP Program. In addition, many thanks are due to the UNC TEACCH Autism Program research team (Mark Klinger, Elena Lamarche, Rachel Sandercock, Brianne Tomaszewski) and our community college students and partners who contributed to the development of the T-STEP. Our work was supported by grants from Autism Speaks and by the National Institute of Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (90IFRE0019).

References and Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TEACCH Autism Program, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA