A proposal in the U.S. Senate would allocate federal dollars to develop a national plan to help those with developmental disabilities transition to adulthood.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., introduced a bill in mid-July that would fund research to determine the most effective interventions and support services for young people aging out of the school system. The legislation calls for the creation of a national strategic action plan and would provide grants to train “transition navigators” who would help youth with disabilities access the supports they need to live independently.
Currently, many individuals with disabilities lose access to needed services when they finish high school.
Though Menendez highlighted the increasing number of individuals with autism who are entering adulthood in bringing forward his proposal, the bill he introduced addresses the need for housing, employment, transportation and other services for individuals with all types of developmental disabilities.
“For too many young people with autism spectrum disorders, the end of high school means the end of the support and skills training they need to succeed in the new world of adulthood,” said Menendez in unveiling the legislation known as the Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence and Navigation Act of 2013, or the AGE-IN Act. “We need a national response to ensure that resources are available to enable these young adults to lead the productive, fulfilling lives they deserve.”