School Age Diagnosis
Find information on autism funding, youth transition planning, school transitions, IEPs and more (ages 6-18)
Table of Contents:
- Over 6 BC Funding
- Autism Services for Children and Youth
- Youth Transition Planning
- Transition Planning Tools
- School Transitions
- Learn More
Some moderate to higher functioning individuals with ASD can go undiagnosed until later in life when the demands of school or work reveal communication or behavioral skill deficits. It is never too late to receive an autism diagnosis. And if your child is between the ages of 6-18 you may still qualify for government funding.
In British Columbia, we have access to provincial government funding through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) for autism treatment.
Over 6 autism funding BC: Families receive up to $6,000 dollars a year per child to put towards eligible autism intervention services and therapies outside of school, until the age of 18.
For more information on funding and eligibility visit the MCFD website here.
Autism Services for Children and Youth
While there are far fewer and less accurate diagnostic screening tools for school-aged children and youth, seeking a professional opinion from a qualified specialist is the most important first step in getting your child diagnosed, regardless of what age they are.
The transition from under 6 to over 6 can be a challenging leap for any parent or caregiver regardless of whether or not their child has ASD. If you have been lucky enough to get a diagnosis under 6 then you are experiencing the difficulties that come with funding cuts at this age. Funding is cut significantly for the 6-18 age group, and along with this change, parents are challenged with the difficulties of transitioning from the home environment to the school.
Perhaps you are feeling grievances as you let go of your child’s previous identities, or as you let go of things or people who acted as roadblocks along the way. Unfortunately, this feeling may follow you at each age and stage of the autism journey. Building in resilience is the best possible way you can support your son or daughter, niece or nephew, grandchild or cousin reach his or her best outcome.
Youth Transition Planning
Youth transition planning at the school age is very important. “Transition planning is an ongoing process of planning, implementing, evaluating and balancing details of your family’s life with the details of your child’s life” (Ankey et al., 2009). Transitions can be tough for anyone, but youth with more complex needs require more intentional planning. By now perhaps you have already implemented strategies for dealing with transitions, such as establishing routines surrounding getting ready for schools, or going to bed at night.
Below you will find some helpful tips at the different school ages for helping with transitions:
- Encourage your child to partake in leisure and social activities
- Identify and make notes on your child’s learning style (aural vs. visual etc.)
- Begin working on financial literacy skills with your child
- Start a conversation around sexual health (what is appropriate in public vs. private, good touching vs. bad touching etc.)
- Determine the degree to which assisted learning in school is necessary
- Now more than ever, continue teaching self-advocacy skills and how to understand feelings
- Allow your child to keep record of his or her own medical history (teach the necessary skills)
- Encourage your teenager to participate in all meetings concerning his or her health and wellbeing (doctors appointments, consultations, IEP meetings)
- With your son or daughter, identify his or her interests, skills, and hobbies
- Begin talking about and considering post-secondary options and/or employment options
- Establish whether or not more assessment is necessary now that your child is older
- Continue with sexual education
- Encourage your child to make informed decisions about such things as past times, friends, allowance spending etc.
- Introduce your teenager to the transportation system (buses, sky trains etc.)
- Ensure your son or daughter has at least two valid pieces of identification on them at all times
- Help your child build on his/or her passions and strengths by supporting after school activities
- Consider the need for a re-assessment at this stage to determine your teens current strengths and needs
- Support your teen in finding meaningful employment or volunteer opportunities in your community
- Help your teen maintain meaningful relationships with peers, community members etc.
- Check if you qualify for assistive income
- Plan for your child’s transition out of school – take him or her to colleges/universities, and consider employment options
- Inquire about the possibility of doing an extra year of high school (if needed)
To learn more about transitioning into adulthood and understanding Transition Planning please attend a Launch Into Life! Workshops Series in your community.
The most important thing you can do for your child in his or her transition to school is ensure that the educators and administrators obtain all records of your child’s diagnosis information. This will help when they go to plan and implement an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
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