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Autism Q & A: Transitioning into Adulthood

Jan 31st, 2020

What happens when your autistic child turns 19 in BC? This handy blog is full of resources to help with funding changes associated with transitioning into adulthood. 



When does the Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) stop being involved with my child?

Age 19. At that point, depending on the diverse ability, your child may qualify for Community Living BC (CLBC) services.

What is Community Living BC, or CLBC?

CLBC “is the provincial crown corporation that funds supports and services to adults with developmental disabilities, as well as individuals who have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and who also have significant difficulty doing things on their own. The law that describes our role is the Community Living Authority Act.” To see if you or your family member might be eligible, visit the following page:

Am I Eligible for CLBC Support?

Do you need to have an updated psych ed or adaptive functioning assessment before qualifying for CLBC services?

For the most part, yes; however, if the last assessment was done within the last few years then you may be able to use that one. It will depend on the individual’s diagnosis and IQ. The best thing to do is to contact CLBC and find out what is required before transitioning.

What is PWD and at what age does an individual receive this funding?

PWD stands for Persons with Disabilities. If an individual has qualified for the Disability Tax Credit there is a good chance they will qualify for PWD funding.

“To be eligible, you must:

  • Show that you meet financial eligibility to receive assistance
  • Be 18 years old (you can start the application process when you are 17 ½)
  • Have a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for more than two years
  • Be significantly restricted in your ability to perform daily living activities
  • Require assistance with daily living activities from
  • Another person
  • An assistive device, or
  • An assistance animal

Please be aware that someone receiving PWD can only make so much per year and have so much in assets. When doing estate planning for your family be sure to consider this and consult with a legal professional regarding estate planning and trusts.” (Government of BC, 2020)

For more details, download the PDF here.

Apply for PWD

If a person is approved through PWD or CLBC, is this a one-time application or do you have to renew/reapply at some point in time?

It is a one-time application. If you are approved for PWD or qualified for CLBC, you shouldn’t have to re-apply, unless your diverse ability goes away, but autism is a lifelong condition.

What is the Guide to Support Allocation (GSA)?

“The GSA is a form and tool that summarizes information about disability-related need in 10 areas of life and evaluates need on a five-point scale. Some of the areas allow for the review of exceptional needs, which are called “flags”. The five-point scale represents a scale that goes from needing no support to needing full support. Most people have different support needs in different areas of life. For example, you could be independent in meeting personal care needs, but need guidance in making important life decisions.

The ten areas of life the GSA reviews support needs for are:

  • Communication
  • Meeting personal care needs
  • Creating or maintaining relationships
  • Making day-to-day decisions
  • Making important life decisions
  • Safety within community
  • Work and learning
  • Community participation
  • Complex health needs
  • Complex needs and risks” (CLBC, 2020)
What is a Representation Agreement?

“A Representation Agreement is the key legal document in British Columbia for personal planning/advance care planning. It is a legally enforceable document and used in case of incapacity, for end-of-life, and other support needs.
You must be an adult (19 years or older) to make a Representation Agreement.

A representative has the legal authority to help you manage your affairs and carry out your wishes if you need temporary or ongoing assistance—due to illness, injury or disability.

A Representation Agreement is the only way to authorize someone—called your representative—to assist you or to act on your behalf for health care and personal care matters. Some might use a Representation Agreement to cover routine financial affairs and legal matters.” (Nidus, 2020)

Is there an organization that can help me with some of the planning associated with transitioning into adulthood?

Yes! Disability Alliance BC can help you with applying for benefits, RDSP (registered disability savings plans), and Disability Tax Credit (DTC) questions! They also have some great online resources regarding these subjects that may answer your questions without even having to contact them directly. Contact them via this form.

Other Organizations in BC:

STADD: Services to adults with developmental disabilities (under MCFD)

From their website, “Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) offers Navigator services for transitioning youth and their families in 145 communities across B.C. Navigators act as the primary point of contact for individuals in coordinating transition planning and access to supports and services through the transition period of 16-24 years old.

Navigators help organize a youth’s transition planning team and develop a person-centred transition plan. STADD encourages and supports information-sharing between government and community resources, and leads the coordination of all involved.

Once you are deemed eligible for CLBC-services, you can request the services of a STADD Navigator or contact 1-855-356-5609 to self-refer.”


BACI is one of the largest service providers in the province. They serve over 1000 individuals and their families. Most individuals they serve are funded by the Ministry of Children and Families or CLBC. They offer a wide variety of programs. For teens who live in Burnaby or New Westminster and who quality for Ministry of Children and Family Special Needs Services, they have day camps that run throughout spring break and the summer holidays.


posAbilities offers a full spectrum of community living services, including deep roots in behaviour support. One of their five founding organizations was Laurel House Society. Today, they serve youth and their families as behaviour consultants and coaches for skill development workshops like Connect with PEERS®.

Read our blog written by representatives from STADD, BACI, and posAbilities:

Easter Seals Compass Program

“The Easter Seals Compass Program is here to help young adults with diverse abilities live as independent, empowered adults.” (Easter Seals, 2020). Check out the program here.

Other Resources

AutismBC Talks: Transition from the Front Lines—Navigation and Lived Experiences

In this workshop, we have a panel presentation on different organizations’ role in helping young people move towards adulthood from all the speakers, plus some of their own experiences, followed by Q & A. 


Julian Wilson and Meaghen Taylor-Reid: Navigators, Services to Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD) under the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD)

Monique Nelson: Director of Community Engagement, posAbiliites (Monique is also a parent of a teenaged son on the spectrum)

Rachel Goddyn: Family Services Consultant, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) (Rachel is also a parent of a neuro-diverse adult child)

Joette Heuft from Square Peg Society will briefly introduce her group for adults.

Launch into Life

The Sinneave Family Foundation has developed the Launch into Life program to help families prepare for key life transitions. It is focused on discovering personal strengths and areas for growth based on an individual’s interests, abilities, and needs. Find out more here.

Print Your Launch into Life QuickStart Guide Here

Family Support Institute BC

FindSupport BC—Transitions Timeline is a great tool for families with children on the spectrum and young autistic adults in BC to identify resources and support available to them at different stages of life. It is user-friendly and provides valuable information to families with children and young adults with diverse abilities from age 0–25. Access the tool here.

Watch this free webinar from Family Support Institute BC on Representation Agreements and Adult Guardianship:

ACT (Autism Community Training) 

Check out the following website for links to videos and written materials that focus on the transition to adulthood.

Transition to Adulthood for Individuals with Autism

Inclusion BC

Since 2011 Inclusion BC’s Transition Planning Workshop has been presented to families in communities throughout the province. This guide is a valuable accompaniment to the workshop or, used on its own, can help prepare a student for life after high school. Check out the Transition Planning Booklet here.


“MyBooklet BC is A FREE online tool that families and people with disabilities can use to create a beautiful and personalized information booklet for a loved one or for themselves” (MyBookletBC, 2020).

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