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Chapter 15 Transitioning to Adulthood

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1 Chapter 15 Transitioning to Adulthood
Robin Graham Jamie Hoelscher Susan Toliver Carrie Pilant

2 What does it mean to become an adult?
Adulthood is expressed through autonomy, membership, and change. Adults express autonomy by self-sufficiency (e.g., having the financial and emotional resources to take care of themselves). (Ferguson and Ferguson, 2006)

3 Challenge The transition from high school to adulthood, with its increased privileges and responsibilities, is especially difficult for youth with disabilities.

4 How Do Former Special Education Students Fare As Adults?
Obtaining answers to such questions has been one of the highest priorities in special education today.

5 Completing High School
Students with disabilities who graduate with a standard high school diploma has remained at about 25% for more than a decade. They range from a low 6.8% in Mississippi to high 45.4% in New Jersey.

6 Employment The National Longitudinal Transition Study is an ongoing effort to assess and monitor changes in the lives of 8,000 youths with disabilities who left U.S. secondary special education programs between 1985 and 1987. Data from the NLTS show an unemployment rate of 46% for all youth with disabilities who have been out of school for less than 2 years. It drops to 36.5% when the youth have been out of school from 3 to 5 years. Nearly 1 in 5 persons stated that they have given up looking for work.

7 Employment The employment outlook is much worse for students with physical, sensory, severe, and multiple disabilities. On average, the youth earned a median hourly wage of $5.72, less than $12,000 per year for full-time, year-round employment. Only 40% of the young adults with disabilities who had jobs 3 to 5 years after school earned more than $6.00 per hour.

8 Employment A nationwide survey of Americans with disabilities ages 16 to 64 reported that 2/3 are unemployed, 20% have full-time jobs, and 11% are working part time (Louis Harris and Associates, 2000).

9 Postsecondary Education
Attending college and postsecondary vocational programs greatly increase the likelihood of obtaining employment and generally experiencing success as an adult. NLTS found that 27% of young adults who left high school had enrolled in some type of postsecondary education program within 3 to 5 years compared with 68% of the general same-age population.

10 Overall Adjustment and Success
The NLTS includes a measure of adult adjustment that assesses independent functioning in three domains: Employment (competitively employed in a full-time job or engaged in job training or postsecondary education) Residential arrangements (living alone or with a spouse or a roommate) Social activities (having friends, belonging to social groups) When assessed at a period of less than 2 years our of school, only 6.4% of all youth with disabilities met these three criteria.

11 Overall Adjustment and Success
A follow-up study of graduates of secondary special education programs in Iowa evaluated whether or not transition to adulthood was successful as defined by four criteria: employed (full or part time) in a competitive job, working as a homemaker, enrolled as a full-time student, or enrolled in a job-training program.

12 Overall Adjustment and Success
buying a home, living independently, or living with a friend or a spouse. paying at least a portion of one’s living expenses; and being involved in more than three different leisure activities (Sitlington et al., 1993). This study found that only 5.8% of 737 students with learning disabilities, 5 of 142 students with MR (3.5%), and just 1 of 59 students with behavioral disorders could be judged as having made a successful adult adjustment 1 year after they had completed high school.

13 Overall Adjustment and Success
A study for postschool outcomes for high school graduates with MR in Iowa found that the class of 1993 was slightly better off than the class of 1985 74% of 1993 graduates were employed compared to 66% of the 1985 graduates 28% of 1993 graduates lived independently compared to 21% of the 1985 graduated 39% of 1993 graduates enrolled in some type of postsecondary education or training program compared to 21% of 1985 graduates Such findings have focused attention on what has become a dominant issue in special education today – the transition from school to adult life in the community

14 Transition Services and Models
Congress authorized funding for secondary education and transitional services for youth with disabilities when it amended IDEA in 1983 (P.L ). Will’s Bridges Model of School-to-Work Transition Halpern’s Three-Dimensional Model

15 Will’s Bridges Model of School-to Work Transition
In 1984, Madeline Will, directory of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, proposed a model of transition services that included three levels of service, each conceptualized as a bridge between the secondary special education curriculum and adult employment. Each level differs in terms of the nature and extent of the services an individual with disabilities needs to make a successful transition from school to work.

16 Will’s Bridges Model of School-to Work Transition
1st level – students, typically with mild disabilities, who require no special transition services 2nd level – persons with disabilities who require the time-limited transitional services offered by vocational rehabilitation or adult service agencies that help individuals gain competitive, independent employment 3rd level – consists of ongoing employment services that are necessary to enable persons with severe disabilities to enjoy the benefits of meaningful paid work.

17 Halpern’s Three-Dimensional Model
Halpern (1985) wrote that it is a mistake to focus on adult employment as the sole purpose and outcome of transition services. “Living successfully in one’s community should be the primary target of transitional services”.

18 Halpern’s Three-Dimensional Model
Halpern proposed a transitional model that directed Will’s generic, time-limited, and ongoing support services toward helping students with disabilities adjust to adult life in the community in three domains: quality of residential environment adequacy of social and interpersonal network meaningful employment

19 Definition of Transition Services of IDEA
Transition services are defined in IDEA as a coordinated set of activities for a student with a disability that: a. is designed with an outcome-oriented process, which promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (including supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation; b. is based upon the individual students’ needs, taking into account the student’s preferences and interests; and c. includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives, and when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation (H.R. 1350, Sec. 602[34]).

20 Individualized Transition Plan
IDEA requires that IEPs for older students include information on how the child’s transition from school to adult will be supported: Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child is 16, and updated annually thereafter – a. appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills; b. the transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals; and c. beginning not later than 1 year before the child reaches the age of majority under State law, a statement that the child has been informed of the child’s rights under this title, if any, that will transfer to the child on reaching the age of majority under section 615(m).

21 Individualized Transition Plan
The intent of this provision is to focus the IEP team’s attention on secondary curriculum and course planning related to postschool success. This portion of the student’s IEP is called an individualized transition plan (ITP). The ITP may be written at an earlier age if the IEP team determines it is appropriate for an individual student. In contrast to IEP goals and objectives, which address one year at a time, transition planning requires the IEP team to think and plan several years ahead (deFur, 2000). A student’s ITP outlines actions, events, and resources that will affect and support her move from school to adulthood. A well-written ITP details the types of curricular programming and supports that will prepare the student for a smooth and successful transition to adult life. Transition plans are designed within an outcome-oriented process based on the student’s and family’s vision of the future.

22 Individualized Transition Plan
The student’s IEP/ITP team specifies postschool outcomes and goals in four major – employment, postsecondary education/training, residential, and recreation/leisure – and then develops an individualized program of instruction and activities designed to reach those outcomes. A well-written transition plan ensures that parents are aware of available adult services and employment options in the community, improves the chances that adult services will be available with few disruptions to the graduating student, and provides school and adult service personnel with a set of procedures and timelines to follow. After graduation, the ITP can be incorporated into an individual rehabilitation plan if the young adult is served by vocational rehabilitation or made part of an individualized habilitation plan if the young adult is served by a community adult services agency.

23 Transition Teaming Transition planning requires a team – special education teachers, general education teachers, vocational education teachers, school counselors, related-service personnel, personnel from community and adult services agencies such as vocational rehabilitation, higher education, and/or developmental disabilities adult service agencies – that can help the student identify and reach her postschool goals.

24 Transition Teaming Transition involves the coordination, delivery, and transfer of services from the secondary school program to receiving agencies (employers, postsecondary education, etc.). Although interagency cooperation is critical to the success of transition, the amendments to IDEA “made it clear that the initial and ultimately most significant transition responsibilities lie with schools” (Moon & Inge, 1993, p.583). Cooperation and communication between and among professionals and families are keys to effective transition planning.

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