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Autism: Programs, Services, and Resources

Autism Spectrum Disorder: Transition to Adulthood


As individuals with ASD leave the high school setting, they need to be prepared for the next stage of life experiences and becoming an adult. Families often ask where, how and when do I start this process? This training module is an overview of what both families and educators can do to support the process for transition from adolescence to becoming an adult and why employment is essential.

Learning objectives

  • Recognize the skill strengths of individuals with autism that make them an asset for employment
  • Identify soft skills that are pivotal to postsecondary success
  • Outline what families can do at home to support successful transitions
  • Guidance for educators in supporting transition to employment

Topics covered

  • How families, professionals, and individuals with autism can best prepare for successful employment
  • Why employment is essential
  • The importance of starting the transition process early

Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), Division of Developmental Disabilities

The MO DMH Division of Developmental Disabilities established Missouri’s Autism Program in 1991. The program provides in-home support services to individuals and families and with autism.

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC) - NECTAC's autism page provides a wealth of online knowledge and resources in regards to diagnosis, programs, guidelines, and evidence-based practices and children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Project ACCESS

Created in 1985, Project Access was (one of) the first state resource centers for autism in the nation. Funded 100% by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Project ACCESS at Missouri State University provides autism resource information to public schools across Missouri serving students with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) in the form of onsite and telephone consultations, as well as support via the internet. In addition, Project ACCESS designs autism-specific professional development opportunities and trains professional, credentialed individuals to present these courses through Missouri's Regional Professional Development Centers (RPDCs). These trainings are offered to Missouri school district staff and educators who work with youth ages 0–21 years, who experience ASD and related disabilities. Onsite child-specific consultations can be arranged through the use of Missouri Autism Consultants and district staff can be trained to be In-District Autism Consultants.

The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders — Columbia

The mission of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders at the University of Missouri-Columbia is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by autism and neurodevelopment disorders through world class programs that integrate research, clinical service delivery, education and public policy.

The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders provides a range of services including: diagnostic evaluations, neuropsychological testing, medical and pediatric care, individual/family therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, applied behavior analysis and family resource supports.

The purpose of this site is to give families, self-advocates, teachers, health care providers and other professionals an introduction to the process of planning for the transition from adolescence to adulthood. It is also meant to provide resources and options to consider for the future.

Training Experts in Autism for Missouri (TEAM)

The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders offers free professional development to educational professionals through the Training Experts in Autism for Missouri (TEAM) program. TEAM provides FREE high quality training and ongoing support to educational providers working with students with autism across the state of Missouri. The mission of TEAM is to increase expertise on autism spectrum disorders and to advance the knowledge and implementation of current empirically supported practices through focused training, coached practice, feedback, and consultation. The primary goal of both classroom and district level training is to increase program quality and positively impact student outcomes.

  • TEAM offers flexible training plans in order to address the specific characteristics of the district’s student population and identified training needs. 
  • Training is focused on building capacity for sustained supports by district personnel in order to have structures in place to respond to programming needs and to train district personnel to monitor program implementation.

TEAM Education Flyer

For more information or to request a TEAM training please call (573) 884-1619 or email TCtrainings@missouri.edu

Applied Behavior Analysis

Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) - This site provides national certification standards, information on how to become certified and maintain certification, as well as lists of approved BACB coursework and contact information. The certificant registry not onlylists certified individuals in Missouri, but throughout the United States and outside of the country as well.

Evidence-based Interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) Services
Final Report on Environmental Scan

March 9, 2010

Brief Overview

Executive Summary

Recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the number of children diagnosed with autism is increasing. As the number of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) rises, budgetary constraints limit the capacity of states to provide related services and supports. To make the most effective use of limited resources, federal and state policymakers need empirical data to make informed decisions about which services and support systems are safe and cost-effective. Currently, relatively little is known about the effectiveness of many autism interventions and services. Few initiatives and studies have focused on providing information about the most effective services for individuals with ASD. To address this information need, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contracted with IMPAQ International, LLC to conduct an environmental scan of the scientific evidence regarding the efficacy, effectiveness, safety, and availability of ASD-related psychosocial services and supports for children, transitioning youth, and adults with ASD. This report describes findings from the literature review, including data on the evidence base for interventions for individuals with autism across the age span as well as data on the significant costs associated with caring for individuals with autism. These data provide CMS with much-needed information to inform policy and funding decisions related to ASD services and supports.


The environmental scan focused on behavioral and psychosocial interventions (e.g., behavioral therapy services/supports) and did not include services traditionally considered medical or pharmaceutical. The search included manuscripts published in the ten years prior to the start of the environmental scan (1998 through 2008). An Information Gathering Template was developed to extract the most relevant information from each article reviewed. Each study was rated on a 9 point scale based on the rigor of the research design (e.g., study design, sample selection and potential for selection bias, sample size, effect on participants). The researchers grouped the interventions into the following three levels based upon the pool of evidence provided by the manuscripts reviewed: IMPAQ International, LLC Page ii Final Report on Environmental Scan Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) Services Project.

  • Level 1: Evidence-Based Interventions
  • Level 2: Emerging Evidence-Based Interventions
  • Level 3: Unestablished Interventions

Interventions were placed in levels 1, 2, or 3 based on the National Professional Development Centers (NPDC) criteria for assessing evidence-based practices. The researchers also reviewed relevant cost and funding literature relating to ASDs in the environmental scan. The results of this scan provide key information on each intervention category within the three evidence levels as well as a synthesis of the cost and funding articles.

Overview of Major Findings

While considerable evidence exists for interventions that target children, little evidence exists for interventions that target transitioning youth and adults with ASD.

A total of 214 studies covering 31 interventions were reviewed for children. Of these 31 interventions, almost half (48 percent) were rated as evidence-based, 42 percent were rated as emerging evidence-based, and 10 percent were rated as unestablished.

We reviewed studies providing evidence on 15 different interventions for transitioning youth with ASD. The majority of interventions (73 percent) were rated as unestablished. Few interventions (7 percent) met the criteria for evidence-based practices.

We found evidence of the effectiveness of only nine interventions for adults with ASD. One-third of the interventions (33 percent) were rated as evidence-based, only one intervention was rated as emerging evidence-based, and the majority (56 percent) was rated as unestablished.

The scan highlights the need for further research into effective interventions for individuals with ASD, specifically interventions that can be successfully implemented within community settings.