Transition Planning for Bi/Multilingual Students With Disabilities

Transition Planning for Bi/Multilingual Students With Disabilities

Belkis Choiseul-Praslin (University of the Pacific, USA) and Malarie E. Deardorff (University of Oklahoma, USA)
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 37
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9043-0.ch009
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Students with disabilities (SWD) experience poor post-school outcomes. These outcomes worsen when factors of race and ethnicity are added. In response to the negative post-school outcomes, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) mandates transition planning for all SWD by age 16. Transition planning is critical for bi/multilingual SWD who have among the worst post-school outcomes of any SWD subgroup. This chapter will (1) review transition plan requirements and considerations, (2) review the known transition status of bi/multilingual SWD, (3) present issues with traditional transition planning, (4) offer case scenarios for how to effectively transition plan for bi/multilingual SWD with mild to moderate and extensive support needs, (5) present recommendations for improving transition planning and outcomes of bi/multilingual SWD through improved educator practices, transition assessments, and increased student and family engagement, and (6) share transition planning and transition-teaching resources that support a smooth transition from school to community.
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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004) mandates transition planning for students with disabilities beginning, at least, by age sixteen. The directive to provide transition planning services directly corresponds to a primary purpose of IDEA which emphasizes that students must be given a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) that ultimately prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living (300.1). The emphasis on further education, employment, and independent living are therefore the central tenets of the transition plan in a student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Transition within the context of special education refers to a student’s move from school to the community. In 1992, Halpern aptly defined transition as “a period of floundering that occurs for at least the first several years after leaving school as adolescents attempt to assume a variety of adult roles in their communities” (p. 203). Though the definition of transition has since evolved, the concept of students with disabilities (SWD) struggling in their transition into adulthood after leaving school remains central to the field. This can clearly be seen in the evolution of the practices used in transition planning and transition services (Leconte, 2006). As such, the intent of the transition plan in the IEP is to consider the long- and short-term goals of the individual student when planning for their post-school life as well as the services and supports needed to help them reach their goals.

The transition plan in the IEP should and can be used to support the needs of SWD and prepare them for a smooth transition into their desired post-school lives. The creation of an effective transition plan and subsequent teaching of transition skills is of crucial importance not only because of its legal requirement by IDEA but also because post-school outcomes for SWD in transition areas (i.e., how do SWD fare in adult life after leaving high school?) are dismally low compared to their same-aged peers without disabilities. Overall, SWD experience poor post-school outcomes in the areas of postsecondary education, employment, and independent living (Banks, 2014; Carter et al., 2012; Flexer et al., 2011; Grigal et al., 2011; Newman et al., 2009, 2011; Prince et al., 2018; Test et al., 2009). Outcomes are known to worsen when assessing subgroups of SWD (e.g., by disability type, level of support needed, race/ethnicity, etc.). SWD who are also bi/multilingual, identified as English learners (EL), or from culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds have among the worst outcomes of any SWD subgroup (Leake & Black, 2005; Oswald et al., 2002; Skiba et al., 2005; Trainor et al., 2016; Wagner et al., 2007; Zhang & Benz, 2006). Despite the pressing need to improve transition outcomes, very little is known about the transition practices for these groups of students (Trainor et al., 2016).

The purpose of this chapter is to highlight the larger issues in special education transition, address issues specific to bi/multilingual SWD, and provide solutions and recommendations to improve transition planning and post-school outcomes for bi/multilingual SWD using culturally & linguistically responsive transition practices. We also provide two case studies for bi/multilingual students, one with mild to moderate and the other with extensive support needs at different stages of their transition process from the perspective of their teacher.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Culturally Responsive Transition Planning: Understanding a student’s culture plays a role in planning for life after high school; incorporating considerations for the student’s culture in the transition plan and services.

Post-School Outcomes: Known outcomes of students with disabilities after leaving high school and transitioning to adult/community life.

Transition Plan: IDEA mandates a transition plan in the IEP by at least age 16; the transition plan in the student’s IEP focuses on preparing students for life after high school in education, employment, and independent living.

Age-Appropriate Transition Assessment: An ongoing process whose goal it is to facilitate the attainment of the student’s post-secondary goals (Neubert & Leconte, 2013); research-identified best practices recommend that the goals and services written into a student's transition plan must be informed by age-appropriate transition assessment results.

Battery of Transition Assessments: Selecting and using more than one transition assessment in transition planning.

Student Vision: Refers to what the student wants to accomplish after high school; their postsecondary goals, dreams, aspirations, etc.; the student vision should be at the center of transition planning.

Quality in Transition: Providing meaningful transition education; the transition plan in the IEP is quality.

Annual Goals: Short-term goals that are designed to help students reach their postsecondary goals (long-term goals); annual goals are usually designed to be achieved in one year or by the following IEP meeting date; should be written in SMART goal format.

Course of Study: Outlines the students' high school coursework related to their postsecondary goals.

Formal Transition Assessments: For assessments to be considered ‘formal’ they must have stand-alone evidence of validity and reliability.

Compliance in Transition: Adhering to the letter of the law; fulfilling the requirements outlined in IDEA.

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