Huska, M., Devine, A., & Naccarella, L. (2023). ‘If there is a Dream there, Don’t Squash it!’: School to Life-after-School Transition Experiences of Autistic Youth within Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme. International Journal of Educational and Life Transitions, 2(1): 22, pp. 1–15. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/ijelt.58
You can listen to Marie Huska providing an overview of the article here
Transcript of the podcast
Evidence has identified challenges experienced by Autistic Australians during their transition from school to life-after-
Evidence has identified challenges experienced by Autistic Australians during their transition from school to life-after-school is contributing to poor life outcomes.
To understand the potential Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (known as the NDIS) has, to support eligible Autistic youth to overcome these challenges, individual interviews were conducted with 18 – 21 year old Autistic NDIS participants and a key support person, discussing their experiences of NDIS support during this life transition.
Participant experiences reflected poor transition outcomes in accessing or completing postsecondary education or training, employment, health, mental health, social connectedness and independent living.
Lacking comprehensive supports through integrated service systems, meant our youth participants found themselves in environments that did not understand, or accommodate their needs, and that failed to recognise the critical support role families play.
To address these transition challenges and interconnected barriers, NDIS policy and practice needs to consider the unique features of Autistic youth’s transition from school to life-after-school, ensuring:
- equitable access to NDIS information
- early planning and preparation
- the use of individualised co-designed person and family centred approaches
- sustained provision of transition supports when required
- inclusion of a strong focus on mental health
- NDIS staff and interacting services and systems must improve and sustain their autism knowledge.
Our findings suggest the NDIS has an opportunity to partner with Autistic youth, their key support people, and the services and systems influencing their transition, to empower individual strengths in pursuit of personal goals, to achieve successful transition outcomes.