Parent Experiences During the Transition Period

  • Ruble, Lisa (PI)
  • Wong, Wing Hang (CoI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Each year, approximately 50,000 teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) turn 18 and, along with their families, undertake the transition from high school to their next stage in life (Shattuck et al., 2012). The transition process can be stressful for the parents because they often continue to take care of their now-adult children and make important decisions for them. Unfortunately, secondary schools often fail to fully prepare students with ASD and their parents for this transition process. School psychologists are typically integral members of the team assisting students with ASD during the transition period. The field of school psychology, however, has not fully addressed the family aspects of the transition process. The current study aims to expand the angle used to view the transition process and its outcomes using a family-centered approach in order to (1) gather data that describes the transition from a family perspective, (2) identify individual and family protective factors, and (3) explore the concept of family transition outcomes using the Double ABCX model. Using a mixed methods exploratory sequential design, this study will provide school psychologists with information and framework to assess the strengths and weaknesses of current transition services and related education processes using familycentered approach, and to establish partnerships with parents to enhance post-secondary outcomes. In phase one, a minimum of 12 parents of students with ASD will be interviewed to describe the transition process at the micro-level and explore the concept of family transition outcomes. In phase two, 200 parents of students with ASD will be recruited. Structural equation modeling will be used to identify individual and family protective factors and confirm the concept of family transition outcomes. The findings from the qualitative and quantitative phases of the study are expected to complement each other, and strengthen the reliability and validity of the findings. With this preliminary, yet in-depth description of the transition process and associated protective factors for families of students with ASD, the foundation is set for future work improving the transition outcomes of students with ASD and their families.
Effective start/end date1/15/177/15/18


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