Autistic young people’s experiences of transitioning to adulthood following the Children and Families Act 2014

Laura Crane*, Jade Davies, Anne Fritz, Sarah O'Brien, Alison Worsley, Anna Remington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Changes to special educational needs and disability (SEND) legislation in England were implemented in 2014. Here, we evaluate the impact of these changes from the perspective of 80 autistic young people aged 16–25 years. Using an online survey and/or interviews, we examined young people’s views on three key principles of the SEND reforms: the help and support provided to them; whether they were given a say in the choices and support that they were offered; and their satisfaction with their educational journeys and outcomes. The results paint a mixed picture. Our sample of young people reported varied experiences regarding the help and support they received, and how much of a say they had regarding the choices and support available to them. The types of schooling they accessed played a role here: young people in mainstream schools highlighted particular challenges in accessing appropriate support, while many young people in special schools said they felt well supported. Parental advocacy was crucial for all young people, as was having key ‘champions’ in the form of teachers who really knew them well. The need for the development of general life and self-advocacy skills was apparent, however, especially in preparing the young people for life after school. Encouragingly, most of our participants were generally happy with their current situation, despite identifying several areas for further improvement. Overall, the results highlight the importance of listening to—and learning from—autistic young people, throughout their educational journeys and especially as they transition to adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2021


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