Skip to content


Do you meet young people on the autism spectrum as part of your job? Do you need information about the strengths of these young people and their support needs? Do you need tools for your work?

The pages for professionals contain tips for successfully encountering a young person on the autism spectrum and give you tools and methods to support your work. The information and experiences of autism on the pages for young people can help you understand young people on the autism spectrum better. You can find more things to read in the material bank.


During the Step to Adulthood project and its co-creation, it has become increasingly obvious that young people on the autism spectrum do not get the support they need in life transitions. The young people and their families are often left to manage on their own. Educational institutions and the social and health services do not always have enough knowledge on the autism spectrum, which is necessary to identify the challenges of young people on the autism spectrum. Due to this, these young people are not offered well-timed support and assistance that meets their individual needs. The young people and their families hope to see concrete support measures and sufficient resources and autism knowledge. A lack of support in life transitions creates a risk of social exclusion and predisposes young people to mental health problems.

“The current services do not really meet the needs; they should be tailored more individually.”

Life transitions can be particularly hard for young people on the autism spectrum and their families. The co-creation teams of the Step to Adulthood project gave voice to the experience of young people on the autism spectrum and their parents regarding the lack of support in life transitions and the lack of knowledge on the autism spectrum. In addition to the young people, their parents also hoped for coaching related to life transitions and information about services. Especially support provided by educational institutions was desired for pupils in comprehensive school as well as higher education students. The need for more information in general in education institutions on ways to support the functional capacity of pupils on the autism spectrum also became apparent. Situations in which the young person does not want help even when they need it were seen as problematic. The support needs of young people on the autism spectrum with regards to basic life skills, such as cooking, household management and doing the shopping, were also mentioned.

“The most important thing is to take hold of the young person as a professional.”

Individual, anticipatory planning is the basis for the successful transition of a young person on the autism spectrum from adolescence into adulthood. The family should start discussing life transitions well in advance so that they can prepare for the changes. It is important to strengthen the young person’s own coping skills and to develop approaches that help the family support the learning of the skills needed to become independent. A professional can support the independence development of the young person and their detachment from their parents by organizing the required support and services.

“It would be good if there was someone to walk beside you, someone familiar who could support you in negotiations and help fill in various forms.”

Taking the individuality of young people on the autism spectrum into account in transitions is particularly important, because there is considerable variation in their ability profiles. The problems of young people on the autism spectrum who have good cognitive abilities often go unnoticed and the significance of limited skills in life transitions is not necessarily understood.

A successful transition requires:

  • cooperation with the young person and the parents, while listening to the young person’s opinions
  • individual planning in good time
  • service counselling and coordination of services for the young person and the family
  • appropriately allocated and well-timed concrete support and services
  • realistic goals while considering individual skills
  • autism knowledge and understanding by the professionals
  • cooperation across sectoral boundaries.

The continuous updating of the goals and adjusting them to new situations should be part of the planning process. A young person on the autism spectrum learns new skills, but faces challenges whenever they encounter new situations and environments. Because of this, it is important that the young person on the autism spectrum has access to tools and support to help with new transitions.

“Include the young person in all the conversations and decision-making.”


An autism-friendly study and living environment is important for every young person on the autism spectrum. Autism-friendliness involves anticipating and structuring activities, taking the different sensory functions of the young person into consideration and respecting their individual manner of interaction. Autism-friendliness is taking individuality into account and accepting diversity. It does not mean the same for every person on the autism spectrum.

Autism-friendliness is attitude-accessibility, not something that requires special expertise or resources, as is often thought. It can be seen as the practise of non-discrimination and social integration. The positive attitude of the environment boosts the positive self-image and wellbeing of the young person and increases their sense of security. Attitude-accessibility is often prevented by a lack of knowledge in an autism spectrum diagnosis and how its primary symptoms manifest themselves and the special needs resulting from the autism spectrum.

Being aware of the elements of encounters is important so that the young person feels like they are understood, noticed and accepted. A successful encounter serves as a good starting point for cooperation.

Issues related to mental wellbeing cannot be overlooked in life transitions either, but they become even more important when young people pursue further studies and gain independence. Do you know what things produce mental wellbeing and make your pupil or client feel good?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Skip to content