Thursday, February 14, 2013

Transition from the Education Setting to Community Living

Black, Rhoda S., and Langone, J. (1997). Social Awareness and Transition to Employment for Adolescents with Mental Retardation. Remedial and Special Education, 18, 214-222.

The authors of this article explore literature in order to evaluate instruction focused on social awareness of students with intellectual disabilities rather than social skills. They argue that the lack of social competence in individuals with disabilities hinder successful employment of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The authors suggest that individuals with intellectual disabilities may be able to use the social skills they receive in an instructional setting to be able to function as others in the community do, but they may still “engage in attention-seeking behavior.” The authors define the differences in social skills, social competence, and social awareness as well as explain how the three are interrelated. The authors assert that many people with intellectual disabilities often loose their employment because of their inability to recognize social reciprocity. Therefore, they suggest that educating individuals with intellectual disabilities should be taught appropriate social skills as well as instruction to help them understand social events and processes in as many environments as possible. They further suggest that these skills should be taught in the elementary years of the individuals with intellectual disabilities by using cognitive process approaches.

Bloomberg, Laura, Bruininks, Robert H., Johnson, David R., Lin, Hung-Chih, and McGrew, Kevin. (1996). Postschool Outcomes and Community Adjustment of Young Adults with Severe Disabilities. Project Crest. (Report No. EDO-392-209 EC-304-640). Minnesota: University of Minnesota: The College of Education & Human Development. 2-11.

The researchers assert that parents, professionals, and policy-makers are concerned aobut the transition of individuals with disabilities from school to the work place. The purposes of the study were to provide information on the post-school outcomes and to document transitional difficulties of students with disabilities. The researchers selected 398 subjects in five states, who had graduated from high school in the last four years before the study. The sample was gathered in order to be representative of individuals with disabilities. The subjects were surveyed on their school experiences and completion, employment and daytime activities, living arrangements, family and friends, community involvement, financial independence, personal choice, family needs and supports, and waiting for services. The study found that the subjects received limited access to postsecondary education programs, exhibited employment instability, gained an dependence on others, did not participate in community events, and were socially isolated. Therefore, the researchers suggest methods for evaluating the success of transitional programs should be reevaluated and improved.

Dave, Penny, J’Anne, and Peterson, Patricia. (2003). The Continental Project: A Model Program for School Work Transition for Students with Disabilities. (Report No. EDO-475-155 CE-084-781). Arizona: Northern Arizona University. 2-9.

The authors assert that transitional services for students with disabilities can benefit both the students and their communities. However, they feel that most of the services offered to students fail to properly prepare students with disabilities to a vocational environment. Therefore, they argue that programs outside of the school often can better meet the post-secondary needs of students with disabilities. The authors use the Continental Project in Flagstaff, Arizona as a model for such programs. The students in the programs receive jobs at the Continental Country Club and transportation to these jobs. The students’ jobs include skills used in the workforce. The students rotate assignments to provide them with multiple job skills. Although the program seems to be successful and may expand into different venues, the education of the students does not seem to be priority. Most of the students work in the morning and are given instruction in the afternoon in a self-contained classroom on the job site. The content of academic material is focused on job-related skills. Therefore, the program limits the education and potential of the students as well as isolating them from their peers.

Dutey, Gary, Gold, Veronica, Stowers, Elissa, and Williams, Ellen. (1997). Transition to the Community, Work, and Independent Living: The Rural Community as a Classroom. Project Crest. (Report No. EDO-406-111 RC-021-012). Ohio: Bowling Green State University. 249-255.

The authors state that many rural communities are unable to provide adequate transitional services for students with disabilities. Therefore, they have come up with Project CREST (Collaboration in Rural Education for Special Teachers). The purpose of this product is to provide transitional training for students with disabilities by meeting their academic, social, vocational and ancillary service needs. The focus group consisted of students from a four-county, impoverished area in Ohio, where unemployment rates and high school drop-out rates are higher than the national average. The researchers worked to engage parents, agencies, and community business to address the planning and implementation of transition services. The researchers developed training models to benefit the students with disabilities based on their critical knowledge and skills. The program required students to be trained in both the classroom and the communities in which they lived. The success of the program was based on the students’ overall achievement of goals related to skills needed for successful future employment.

Grigal, Meg, Moon, M., and Neubert, Debra A. (2002). Post-Secondary Education and Transition Services for Students Ages 18-21 with Significant Disabilities. Focus on Exceptional Children, 34, 1-11.

The authors assert that students with disabilities between the ages of 18-21 require transitional education for future success. They point out that many transitional programs are often based on the individual needs of students with disabilities, and these programs also differ due to the philosophy of the educational system the students are a part of. From their research, the authors suggest that all students with disabilities receive transitional and educational experiences both in and out of the classroom, and they point out that many of these programs are being implemented throughout the country. Some of the programs listed are those in post-secondary settings, such as college campuses. In these programs, the students receive education both in and outside of the classroom, where they learn functional skills. The authors feel this program is beneficial because the students are kept with their age-group and are given opportunities to take classes with their peers. Another program addressed in the article is the use of individual supports in post-secondary settings (college, employment sites, or community environments). This program is “provided and coordinated for one student at a time” (6). The major benefit for this program is that it is more flexible to the students’ individual needs.

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