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5.3: Issues Related to Transition

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    Transition and Students with Disabilities

    Outcomes for students with disabilities are particularly dismal compared to non-disabled youth despite efforts to include students with disabilities in the general education curriculum and laws to provide for post-secondary transition (e.g., IDEA). According to the National Longitudinal Transition Survey 2 (NLTS- 2; Wagner, Newman, Cameto, Garza, & Levine, 2005), in the four years after graduation only 58% of youth with disabilities were employed full-time. Regarding post-secondary education, 45% of youth with disabilities were enrolled in some typeof educational system within four years of leaving secondary school. Further, only 25% of these youth reported living independently (on their own, not with parents/guardians) after leaving school.

    Local school districts have been required to provide transition plans to students with disabilities since the 1990 authorization of the IDEA. Amendments to the act in 1997 and 2004 resulted in a results-oriented plan that facilitates movement from K-12 education to post-secondary intentions. Currently, under the IDEA, transition plans are required to be in the student’s IEP when the child turns 16. As with all federal laws, States are allowed to provide more services, but not less. For example, States could require transition plans at the age of three, but not at the age of 17, because postponing until 17 would provide less services to the child rather than more. Thus, Kansas has adopted a requirement that transition plans be implemented in the IEP when the student turns 14 years of age.

    Providing for meaningful transition goes beyond simply stating a plan but has been linked to a student’s self-determination (Shogren, Wehmeyer, Palmer, Rifenbark, & Little, 2015). Self-determination is a broad concept referring to a student’s disposition as revealed through operating as the “causal agent” (Wehmeyer, 2015, pp. 20) in their life by establishing their own goals and trajectory of their existence. Decades of research have concluded that students with disabilities operate with less self-determination than their typically developing peers, which then leads to poorer transition outcomes post-schooling (Shogren, Palmer, Wehmeyer, Williams-Diehm, & Little, 2012; Shogren et al., 2015; Wehmeyer, 2015; Wehmeyer & Metzler, 1995).

    This can be seen in the limited number of students with disabilities who live outside the home following school (Wagner et al., 2005). Additionally, recent research has shown positive results of interventions to increase the self-determination of students with disabilities that then leads to encouraging post-secondary transition outcomes. These interventions have included a focus on (a) student involvement and educational planning, (b) access to the general education curriculum, (c) goal attainment, and (d) positive employment and community inclusion outcomes (Shogren et al., 2012; Shogren, Wehmeyer, Palmer, Forber-Pratt, Little, & Lopez, 2015; Wehmeyer, Palmer, Lee, Williams-Diehm, & Shogren, 2011). Therefore, when we speak to improving student transition outcomes, a key component is improving the student’s self-determination. The remainder of this chapter will be devoted to strategies designed to improve the self-determination of students with disabilities and include students in their individual education programs that will hopefully ensure outcomes for students like Rick are not the norm.

    This page titled 5.3: Issues Related to Transition is shared under a CC BY-ND license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Mickey Losinski (New Prairie Press/Kansas State University Libraries) .

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