Thank you to everyone who took part in our live Twitter Q and A session with our Transition Support Service. See below all of our responses: 

What does the transition support service do? 

We’re the only autism-specific telephone and email service in the UK supporting young people and their families with the transition from education to adult life. Our help consists of confidential information and advice, an explanation of rights and entitlements, assistance with exploring options so that informed decisions can be made and guidance and support on specific issues.

In Northern Ireland can a young person use their statement when they go to college?

The Statement of Special Educational Needs ends when a pupil leaves school. After they turn 14 the Education Authority has a duty to consult with the young person, their parents and relevant professionals to prepare a Transition Plan. This should consider further education needs and identify specific targets identified to ensure that independence training, personal and social skills and other aspects of wider curriculum are fully addressed during last years at school. We can advise on the kinds of supports young people at college are entitled to.

I live in Scotland and I am due to start University in September, what support can I get?

Support will be dependent on the needs of the young person. We would recommend contacting the Student support department at the university to see what they can provide. Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is extra funding and support that can help university students with a wide range of needs so they can get the best from their studies. For support with your studies, you should request a community care assessment to meet additional needs e.g. Personal care. 

How can professionals help autistic young people in Wales to consider their options? 

All planning should be Person-Centred. Person-Centred planning is based around the individual and is ideal for people on the autism spectrum. Planning tools may need to be adapted and terminology often needs to be changed so that it can be understood by the person. It is essential that the person’s preferred ways of communicating are taken into account so that they can play a full part in the planning process.

What help is there for autistic young people with high support needs after they finish school in Northern Ireland?

It’s essential that planning begins early and considers the views of family and professionals but centres on the young person themselves. We use Person-Centred Planning (PCP) to ensure that a young person and their interests are central. Transition should be personalised for each individual. We can advise parents on how services can best meet the needs of autistic people.

Can Co-ordinated Support Plans help support a child with their transition from school?

CSPs should be reviewed annually and both the young person and parent should be involved in the process. A review taking place a year or two prior to the young person leaving school should include a discussion about leaving school including identifying any support needed and how this will be put in place. If you feel the CSP is inadequate for the support needed during transition, an early review can be requested.

How can you help a young person with limited understanding to be involved in planning their transition?

How a young person communicates should not be a barrier to them contributing to transition planning. They can be supported to contribute in the way that is most meaningful to them. We can use creative ways to include their preferences. This might mean using visual supports, and assessing and recording their reaction as evidence.

What help is available for parents/carers of autistic young people during transition in Wales?

Local authorities now have a duty to offer carers their own needs assessment and a legal duty to meet the eligible needs of carers following assessment. We can support with a complaint if parent carers are unhappy with the outcome. Branches may be able to offer peer support.

What advice/tips would you give to someone on the spectrum who is looking to find employment?

Know your rights on Equality Law and reasonable adjustments, utilise local and online employment services as they can be a great resource, look for volunteering or work experience opportunities to improve your skills, check if employer is part of the Disability confident scheme and have a look at the National Autistic Society’s Finding Work handbook.

Do you feel that enough people are informed about the existence of the Transition Support Service?

The National Autistic Society Transition Support Service coordinators promote the service as part of their role. We are always looking for ways to let people know about our service. Our advice and support is offered free of charge and it is confidential. The feedback we have received tells us that 100% of those we support would recommend us to others. We would like to see more people learn about the service so that we can offer support to more autistic young people and their families. We hope sessions on social media such as today's twitter session will help to promote the service. 

My brother is 14 - not in education, technically home-schooled. He’s lost his social worker recently. How can we make sure he doesn’t slip under the radar for transition? We’re in Northern Ireland.

The Transition Support Service can advise on his rights to community care support from social services. All children with Statements have a right to have a Transition Plan created. For those without Statements, the EA "should seek to provide appropriate help and guidance. This might include the provision of school/college link courses or work placements". For more personalised support please contact the service.