To address the wide variety of needs and multi-sector challenges youth on the autism spectrum experience and improve outcomes in adulthood for this population, the HCT-RN aims to achieve five primary goals:
- Develop a national research agenda
The network will develop a national agenda of cutting-edge research priorities designed to improve and promote optimal transition to adulthood among youth with ASD, including positive physical, social, and vocational outcomes.
- Improve the nation’s research capacity
The network will build interdisciplinary research and practice capacity in the field and improve the nation’s capacity to pursue the national agenda by guiding the network’s implementation of research studies through both MCHB and external funding sources.
- Create clear practice guidelines related to transition and ASD
The network will establish comprehensive transition guidelines for health care, school, and community settings and develop quality improvement methods to improve transition support for youth with ASD.
- Promote evidence-based practice and policy making
The network will disseminate useful information that can inform decision making to researchers, professionals, policymakers, the public, and other stakeholders, including individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
- Increase community and organizational capacity
The network will identify replicable strategies for increasing the capacity of communities and organizations to effectively help the growing number of transition age youth with ASD and their families. For instance, fostering coalitions of employers to promote hiring youth with autism.
We pursue these goals by conducting and producing quality research on the transition to adulthood process of youth and young adults with ASD, as well as engaging actively with medical providers and community organizations to translate our research findings into practice and consequently improve overall standards of transition-related care of youth and young adults with ASD.