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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental disability in the US other than ADHD (IACC, 2012). Currently, the prevalence of individuals with ASD is estimated to be 1 in 88 in the US (CDC, 2012). Therefore, increasing numbers of children with ASD will age out of high school and transition to postsecondary settings. Individuals with ASD have demonstrated less successful postsecondary outcomes than individuals with other disabilities (Shattuck et al., 2011). Currently, there is limited research supporting the methods of successful transition planning for students with ASD (IACC, 2012). The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the current literature pertaining to best practice for transition planning for individuals with ASD from high school to postsecondary settings.

A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify appropriate articles. Inclusion criteria incorporated peer-reviewed articles published within the last 12 years regarding individuals with ASD and transitions to postsecondary settings. Eleven articles were obtained using a comprehensive search of the following databases: ERIC, Cochrane, PubMed, and CINAHL. Six additional articles were included using an amended inclusion criterion, which examined a broader population of individuals with developmental disabilities. Articles were critiqued using established forms and peer consensus.

Group members examined 17 articles addressing components of best practice transition plans. The literature review described skills (i.e. social skills, task-specific skills) necessary for success in post-secondary environments and strategies to address these skills, including community-based instruction. Findings also emphasized a client-centered focus and continuum of care with appropriate supports. Overall, the literature demonstrated a lack of occupational therapy involvement in the transition planning process, despite the fact that the paradigm of transition planning fits within the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (AOTA, 2008).

Findings of this literature review may have clinical implications for school-based occupational therapists. Results of the review demonstrate a lack of rigorous research; only preliminary research is available to support practices regarding transition planning and intervention. This presentation will highlight opportunities for occupational therapists to become more involved in transition planning and research within this practice area.


American Occupational Therapy Association [AOTA]. (2008). Occupational therapy practice framework:

Domain and process (2nd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62, 625–683.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): Data and statistics. Retrieved on 7/23/2013 from

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee [IACC]. (2012). Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research – 2012 Update.

Retrieved on 7/23/2013 from

Shattuck, P. T., Narendorf, S. C., Cooper, B., Sterzing, P. R.,Wagner, M., & Taylor, J. L. (2012). Postsecondary education and employment among youth with an autism spectrum disorder. Pediatrics, 129(6), 1–8. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-2864