Equipping Youth With Autism Spectrum Disorders for Adulthood: Promoting Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

David W. Test, Leann E. Smith, and Erik W. Carter


Equipping students with ASD for a good life after high school is the overarching goal of secondary special education services and supports. In this paper, we review important elements of effective transition education for adolescents with ASD. First, we review recent findings related to the post-school employment, education, and independent living outcomes of young adults with ASD. Next, we describe a framework for addressing three important aspects of secondary schooling: rigor, relevance, and relationships. At present, an emphasis on promoting rigor, relevance, and relationships offers a promising approach for addressing the multifaceted needs of youth and young adults with ASD. Rigor, relevance, and relationships should not be viewed as distinct or competing priorities, but as essential, inseparable elements of comprehensive transition education for students with ASD. We conclude with research and policy recommendations for improving the impact of transition service delivery for students with ASD.


Test, D. W., Smith, L. E., & Carter, E. W. (2014). Equipping youth With autism spectrum disorders for adulthood: Promoting rigor, relevance, and relationships. Remedial and Special Education, Early Online.