The following evidence based resources for autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities may be helpful to some families and individuals. Consider treatments that are supported by scientific research and proven to be effective. It is important for individuals to be informed on topics related to transitioning to adulthood, employment, self-advocacy, and reaching the maximum independence.


Autism and Best Practice Intervention Resources

(Note: many best practice interventions may be effective with other disabilities and conditions, as well as for some individuals with and without disabilities)

  • National Autism Center:  provides free resources to professionals, educators, and families on evidence based practice treatments for autism. This organization goes through an in-depth process to collect the most recent research available and provide to the public. There are downloadable resources for professionals, educators, and families on best practice treatments in therapy settings and educational settings.

  • National Clearinghouse on Autism and Evidence: National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice (NCAEP) conducted a systematic review of the current intervention literature targeting individuals on the autism spectrum. NCAEP is a continuation of the evidence review that was completed by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (NPDC) which included research published through 2011. We reviewed research studies published between 2012-2017 which examined the impact of behavioral, educational, clinical and developmental practices and service models used with individuals on the autism spectrum from birth through age 22. 


Employment Resources for those with Disabilities

  • Employment First in Michigan:  a law in Michigan and promotes inclusion in the workforce.  Employment First requires individuals with disabilities to have competitive employment in integrated settings, with or without supports, and engagement with businesses informing them of the value and contributions in hiring individuals with disabilities.  There are a number of initiatives underway in Michigan promoting Employment First and Competitive Integrated Employment, a state level conference, and more.

  • Explore Work: interactive online site that helps individuals look at their interests and talents, what they are good at, and create a plan.  This is a free resource that covers self-advocacy, career planning and job exploration, school beyond high school, and workplace readiness.   

  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN): leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. Review JAN's Frequently Asked Questions

  • Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) and Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP):  Michigan's vocational rehabilitation services organization that prepares individuals with documented disabilities for employment (individuals either medically diagnosed and/or with Individualized Education Programs-IEPs or 504 Plans). MRS and BSBP provides training and support for adolescents in Pre-Employment Training Services (Pre-ETS) that are still in school and 14 years or older, and in Vocational Rehabilitation for adults out of high school.  Parents and individuals can contact MRS or BSBP directly to get an intake and talk to a counselor. For the MRS office map and location closest to you go to:  MRS Locator.


To gain independence, it is very important for individuals to self-advocate. This means having an active part in various aspects of life including having a voice in decisions, supports that can help and asking for accommodations, understanding legal rights, and more. Self-advocacy skills can be nurtured in the home from an early age. Taking an active part in chores and other responsibilities is a great place to start. See the resources below for additional information and tools to help grow self-advocacy skills.

  • I'm Determined:  self-advocacy is a part of being self-determined which means the individual controls all aspects of their lives. This is an online resource for individuals, parents, educators, and professionals.  There are modules available for individuals to access and become more aware and knowledge on self-advocacy and self-determination. Topics include the history of self-determination and how parents and educators can facilitate greater independence. Other resources are available related to time management, goals, videos, and more.

  • Self-Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC): the oldest national self-advocacy organization in the country, has been awarded a grant from the Administration for Community Living to establish the first-ever national Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC). This site provides information about disability law, civil rights, inclusion, resources, events, sources for individuals to contact for help, and information for online resources and help.  

  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Center for Disability Leadership, Self-Advocacy:  provides resources on self-direction; personal workbooks users can complete on increasing their self-advocacy; modules for growing self-advocacy skills related to knowledge and information about self-advocacy and law, emergency preparedness, choices at age of majority, information on guardianships, and living healthy and informed;  being a self-advocate leader and volunteering in the community; finding a job; history and disability awareness; and other resources.

Sexual Health

Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities typically progress physiologically like any other teen or young adult. They attain puberty, have hormonal changes, and experience physical changes in their bodies. Education is extremely important for these individuals. Often the teaching must be broken down and explained in a literal and direct way. Since many individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities have difficulty with innuendo and inferencing from others, assuming they will learn by listening to peers or even through a school's sexual health program may not be sufficient. There are some good resources available to help parents and individuals learn more about sexuality.

  • BodyTeen (WEBSITE) : covers many teenage sexual health and well-being issues including male and female anatomy, anxiety and depression, suicide and mental health, dieting, sexually transmitted diseases, violence, and more.

  • Sex Ed for Self Advocates (ONLINE MODULES): from OAR related to sexual health, staying safe, dating, sexual orientation and gender identity, consent, online relationships, and more. This is self-paced and provides specific information for teens and adults.

  • Sex Ed for Self Advocates (PODCAST): covers topics related to sexual health, staying safe, online dating, sexual orientation and gender identity, consent, online relationships, and more.  

  • Sexuality Across the Lifespan (BOOK/PDF):  an excellent resource for parents and caregivers of individuals with disabilities broken down to very basic concepts. Includes information about anatomy, puberty, dating, abuse, and more. Worksheets included.

  • Taking Care of Myself (BOOK): for school, middle, and high school age addresses hygiene, modesty, touching, personal safety, self-care, and more.

  • Taking Care of Myself 2 (BOOK): for teens and young adults in teaching or home settings. Topics include dressing for different events, public and private behavior, safety, and more.

  • Teaching Sexual Health (WEBSITE): site for individuals and families with extensive information by age, topic, information on teaching your child, and resources and videos on consent, parent guides for children and teens, and much more.

  • The Autism Spectrum, Sexuality, and the Law: What Every Parent and Professional needs to Know (BOOK):  by Dr. Isabelle Henault and Dr. Tony Atwood provide excellent information for individuals with autism or any other intellectual or developmental disability and how the ASD profile typically affects sexuality and how sexual development differs between the general population and those with ASD. It explains the legalities of sexual behavior, how laws differ from country to country, and the possibility for adjustment of existing laws as they are applied to the ASD population. With advice on how to help people with autism spectrum disorder gain a better understanding of sexuality and a comprehensive list of resources, the book highlights the need for a more informed societal approach to the psychosexual development of people with ASD.



Transition to Adulthood Resources (for all disabilities):

  • Before Age 18: site assists with transition planning considerations including a timeline and considerations in preparing for the Individualized Education Program (IEP) where transition planning is done.  There is a downloadable Wisconsin Transition Guide on the site.

  • National Technical Assistance Center for Transition (NTACT): a leading resource site focused on educational best practices in planning for transition and life after high school. This site is rich with information for transition planning, toolkits, transition assessment information, and much more.

  • Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) Lifespan Transition Center): an excellent resource for transition age youth with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. It offers videos, webinars, fact sheets, toolkits, and classes for both professionals, families, and individuals with disabilities. There are many topics including best practice considerations and predictors for adult success, and guidebooks for transition assessment, planning, and employment.

  • Transition Tennessee-Blueprint for Student Success:  an excellent resource for educators and families with a focus in transitioning for a life after high school. This includes using best practices and strategies in working with families, school teams, and other key stakeholders involved in this process. This site offers webcasts related to transition, professional training for educators and others, information on transition assessments, and more.

Online Learning