The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University will use a $3.5 million grant donated anonymously to become an innovation incubator for pilot programs to prevent young adults on the spectrum from falling through the cracks after high school. Named “Transition Pathways,” the demonstration programs will help high school seniors and recent graduates on the cusp of living or working independently. Transition Pathways draws on the latest thinking about evidence-based practices and state and national models for integrating services, training, research, and policy. There will be two “pathways” — a Work Pathway and a College Pathway. Up to 16 participants will be involved in the programs in its first year. Most will be seniors set to graduate from schools in the Philadelphia area in spring 2017. As such, the plan is to have school teachers and other professionals from Community Integrated Services work with them at Drexel as a part of the programs. “Programs like these would have the advantage of giving participants access to all the university has to offer and, through partnership with university-based researchers and facilitate the seamless collection and integration of data in order to carefully evaluate effectiveness,” said Dr. Peter Doehring, associate research professor in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, who has co-led the development of the new initiative, which is slated to launch in September.