Quick links: MyODP ASDNext AidInPA PhillyAP

Individualizing Support for Individuals with Autism

A young man is seen polishing a fire truck in a fire station. He is looking at the camera happily.Every person with autism is a unique individual with their own set of strengths, needs, and life goals. While support may be required, each person with autism has infinite potential that can be fostered with proper planning and support. The focus of a person-centered approach is on individual strengths and abilities. It is critical to view the person as someone who is fully capable of participating in making important decisions about their own life. When we individualize support, we assess a person’s strengths, interests, preferences, and needs, then plan for and incorporate these into daily life. Choice is central to taking a person-centered approach. One must respect the individual’s choices, provide support, and give the person the opportunity to learn from their own mistakes. The goal is to provide support in a way that improves life skills, develops interests, and meets goals, while encouraging independence.

Identify and Encourage Strengths

    • What does he or she do well?
    • What can he or she do independently?

Use Interests to Drive Skill Development

    • How does he or she choose to spend his or her time?
    • How does his or her affect differ when he or she is engaged with preferred and non-preferred activities?

Identify Preferences and Provide Opportunities for Exploration

    • What activities, items or people does he or she prefer?
    • When given a choice, what does he or she tend to prefer?

Address Needs and Take Advantage of Natural Supports

    • In what areas does he or she need assistance?
    • What natural supports are available in the settings he or she lives in or participates in?

What You Can Do Now

    1. Interview someone you support by exploring the questions outlined above.
    2. If the person you support is non-verbal or does not have a form of functional communication, observe his or her behaviors to discern what his particular strengths, interests, preferences and needs are.
    3. With the individual’s permission, ask family members, friends, and co-workers who know the individual to share what they know about his or her particular strengths and interests.

Rate this resource

Thank you for rating this resource!

Download entire resource (pdf)

This information was developed by the Autism Services, Education, Resources, and Training Collaborative (ASERT). For more information, please contact ASERT at 877-231-4244 or info@PAautism.org. ASERT is funded by the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations, PA Department of Human Services.