Evidence-Based Transition Practices: Implications for Local and Global Curriculum

Evidence-Based Transition Practices: Implications for Local and Global Curriculum

James L. Soldner (University of Massachusetts – Boston, USA), Dimity Peter (University of Massachusetts – Boston, USA), Shahrzad Sajadi (University of Massachusetts – Boston, USA) and Maria Paiewonsky (University of Massachusetts – Boston, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7703-4.ch007
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Preparing youth to become active and independent citizens is a critical goal for all societies. However, youth with disabilities are less likely to achieve the same adult outcomes as their non-disabled peers. Although there is a growing body of research that has identified best practices regarding the facilitation of youth with disabilities from school to an inclusive adult life, many teachers do not have the requisite skills or knowledge to facilitate this process. This chapter explores best practices in transition education for teachers beyond the academic content, identifying eight key strategies that should inform teacher preparation programs. Using a case study from Iran, this chapter critically reflects on the relevance of these strategies in an international context, where inclusion and education of students with disabilities is an emerging field.
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Preparing youth to develop into full and active citizens is an essential goal for all societies (Arnett, 2004; Vespa, 2017). However, youth with disabilities are considered less likely to achieve the same outcomes as their non-disabled peers in relation to employment, postsecondary education and training, and independent living (Landmark, Ju, & Zhang, 2010; Lipscomb, et al., 2017; Pandy & Agarwal, 2013; Shattuck at al., 2012; UNESCO, 2018). This is true for youth and young adults with disabilities in the United States but also similarly reported in other countries, including South Korea (Chun, Connor, Kosciulek, Landon, & Park, 2016), India (Pandey & Agarwa, 2013), Canada (Stewart, et al., 2014), Brazil (Santos Rodriguez, Luecking, Glat, & Daquer, 2013), South Africa (Cramm, Naiboer, Finkenfluegel, & Lorenzo, 2011) and Iran (Ebadi, 2014).

The main objective this chapter is to provide an overview of the literature regarding research-based best practices that facilitate the transition of youth with disabilities from school to employment, both internationally and in the U.S, and the implications these have for effective teacher education preparation and curriculum.

This chapter also explores the universality of transition principles and practices, identifying both the similarities and differences in transition knowledge across various cultures, and suggests how curriculum development in teacher training could contribute to more positive post-school outcomes for students with disabilities in the U.S. and internationally. The chapter concludes with a case study from Iran, where the inclusion and education of students with disabilities is an emerging philosophy and practice. In this case study, the challenges of developing promising practices that are culturally relevant become evident.

The United Nations identifies the term “persons with disabilities” to apply to all people with disabilities, including those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various attitudinal and environmental barriers, hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (CRPD, 2006). This chapter is focused on youth and young adults with disabilities. UNICEF identifies “adolescents” as those between 10–18 years old, and the United Nations describes youth as being between 19–24 years old. For the purposes of this chapter, the transition needs of youth and young adults in both these age groups (range of 10–24 years of age) will be taken into account, considering their similar needs and challenges to prepare for adult life.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Transition Assessment: Assessment practice for youth with disabilities used to identify measurable postsecondary goals and determine necessary transition services for individuals to pursue such goals during the secondary school years.

Inclusion: Inclusion embodies a set of principles and practices that promote the full inclusion of individuals in all aspects of life, including such domains as education, employment, social settings, and the community.

Self-Determination: Based on the macro theory of human motivation and personality that concerns people's inherent growth tendencies and innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation behind choices people make without external influence and interference.

Functional Life Skills: The skills a certain individual learns and needs in order to live independently. Skills are defined as functional as long as the outcome supports the individual’s independence.

Interagency Collaboration: A broad concept that encompasses both formal and informal relationships and services between relevant agencies in which resources are shared to achieve common consumer goals and desired outcomes.

Disability: A complex phenomenon and social construct reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives, including potential environmental and social barriers, impacting inclusion, independent functional, and overall quality of life.

Special Education: A form of education and learning provided to students with exceptional needs, such as students with learning disabilities.

Career Development: Based on life-span theory and considered a continual process of identifying and refining a desired vocational pursuit that spans an individual’s lifetime and work identity.

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